The Braeburn Group of International Schools is a group of co-educational international schools offering British/International curricula in Kenya and Tanzania; educating over 3,600 pupils. Each school has its own app, which parents and students download from the Apple and Android app stores, and there is also a group alumni app. We caught up with Andy Hill, Managing Director of Braeburn Schools Limited and Marcel Blackbeard, Group ICT Manager about their schools’ experiences of using their apps.
Apps are easy to navigate
The difference an app brings is the ability to target specific information to parents and create a more personalised experience. Being instantly available on their phones, easy to navigate and with push notifications alerting parents in real-time to Covid-19 bulletins and other urgent information, an app can serve as the go-to hub of school information. “Using the apps is a quick way to find the latest Covid-19 advice, term dates, information, payment methods and the events calendar”.
The schools have also found sending forms via the app particularly useful, as parents can self-serve by updating their contact information and report absences for instance without needing to call. This saves time and captures the information more efficiently.
A more streamlined method of communication
The schools needed a better way to communicate with their parents both locally and internationally. “We were looking for a more streamlined method to get in touch with parents”. Beforehand, parents were not engaging with emails and the website was not easy to navigate on mobile devices. Parental engagement had become a problem as exemplified by a recent school sports day; in the past, “only some parents had attended and many were unaware that the Sports Day was taking place”. Using its app to send out an alert and reminders to parents about the event resulted in most parents attending the following year.
Push notifications have been key
“The Headteachers are happy with the ability to send and receive instant push notifications” and teachers have been using the apps to share school news stories and publish trip updates. “Parents are happy too” – they feel more engaged and enjoy getting the updates from the schools. Group executives feel that Piota “really understood” their communication needs and service levels have been good.
The Braeburn Schools groups’ apps are still evolving and future plans include using the apps to communicate ever more personalised content. The group has recently rolled out the Registration feature with inbuilt MIS integration to parents, staff and students. And the new version of the app will allow parents with children at different campuses (as well as staff who work across multiple campuses) to receive alerts from both apps and view them interchangeably.