International School App
Transforming The Communication Strategy
Anfield Primary School in Hong Kong has improved its parental engagement by using its app to
communicate with parents and help facilitate home-learning.
Transitioning From Email To An App
With the disruption to schooling in Hong Kong throughout late 2019 due to the local protests, Anfield Schools knew they needed to find a better way to communicate. Parents were reporting not seeing the latest updates; messages were being sent via email but were often not seen in time for parents to take action or delivered to junk folders and not seen at all. With changes to the school day needing to be communicated quickly it was clear email was not the best means of communicating these changes to parents.
Anfield’s new school app became a key part of improving its communication strategy, as it allowed them to send school messages both quickly and easily using instant push notifications. “It’s been a revelation to use our app to get our messaging out to parents”. Some of the pressure has been taken off of Anfield’s admin staff, as communicating with parents using the app has been much easier and much more efficient.
Effective Communication With Registration
Using the registration feature has been particularly useful for Anfield as they can ensure that its messaging is now both seen and received. “As all of our parents are registered, we know the messages are getting out to them
and that’s key for us”. Using its back-end Content Management System (CMS), Anfield can check the listed registered devices to ensure the app content is being engaged with and can then reach out to parents to follow-up if needed. The registration feature also allows Anfield to send tailored messaging to parents with children in specific year groups and
This feature has allowed Anfield to make its messaging more relevant to specific parents, encouraging a further increase in parental engagement. Feedback from parents has all been very positive, “parents love the app,
they feel the communication has been much smoother”.
I genuinely don’t
know what we
would have done in
the last 12 months
— Elise Rees, Head of School
Improved Engagement with an app
Anfield has been able to see that communicating using its app is both effective and efficient. After the Hong Kong education authorities advised all of the local schools to close for two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak, Anfield was able to send out instant communications to parents via its app. After sending out the initial alert, parents were then encouraged to stay engaged with the app and keep an eye out for further updates.
Another alert was then sent an hour later confirming the school closure and sharing the new timetables and information about home-schooling for the next few days. This gave Anfield some much needed time to plan the next steps for the rest of the school closure. As a result of their effective communication using the app, only one child turned up to school the next day - proving that parental engagement had increased significantly.
Saving On Admin Time
Having a web-based back-end Content Management System (CMS) has made all the difference to being able to send alerts from home when staff are unable to work on-site. Using the CMS, school messaging is pre-scheduled ahead of time and can then be easily updated when changes occur. The ability to pre-schedule its messaging has “cut out the rush of trying to get little bits and pieces of information out”, ultimately saving on admin time.
Once sent, when changes occur, information is easily updated in the CMS and changes are then reflected on parent’s smartphones.
As well as saving on admin time, Anfield has saved money on paper and printing. Sending permission slips home with students had been a challenge as they often got lost. Relying less on paper, Anfield
started using its app to host links to Google Form versions of permission slips and parents can digitally fill them in as soon as they get the alert, which as result has given Anfield a much higher response rate. Parents are also encouraged to use the forms feature in the app to report absences and update their information, Anfield’s admin team have found this particularly useful for keeping their database
Parents love the app, they feel the communication has been much smoother