Piota school app used for community engagement

We were delighted to see Ibrox Primary School using their school app to promote wider engagement through a Community Coffee Morning. It was a great initiative to get their Junior Leadership Team involved and teaching them how to use the app too.

For any one interested in a school app and wondering if it would be easy enough to use, look no further, this Junior Leadership Team have it sorted! If you’re wondering about investing in a school app, contact us today for a free, no obligation demonstration and quote.

Naidex logo

Come see us at the Naidex Show, Birmingham NEC, 26 – 27th March

On the 26th and 27th of March 2019, Birmingham’s NEC will host the 45th edition of  Naidex, the disability and independent living event. We’ll be on stand N6070 so make sure to come see us 👋! 

About Naidex

At Naidex 2019 you’ll find 250 world-class CPD accredited seminars; interactive panel sessions and 350 astounding exhibitors. You will also see the return of the Live Sports Arena, and Mobility Test Track; as well as the Moving & Handling Lab and Home, Design & Build Summit.

With all this lined up, Naidex will once again become the hub of the disability sector and reaffirm its reputation as Europe’s most established event dedicated to the care, rehabilitation and lifestyle of people with a disability.

Get your FREE tickets here and come meet us at the show!

Transform your communication and engagement with an app from Piota

We are proud to be exhibiting at Naidex 2019 and look forward to demonstrating how an app from Piota could help streamline your communication, improve support and care for people with a disability, and build a deeper level of engagement between families and carers.

Read our case study on St Elizabeth’s adult care and how their supported living apps have helped to transform communication and engagement with their residents and families.

Providing families with real-time photos of trampolining or horse rides on an adventure is something they might never normally see. It’s not someone telling them over the phone, it’s seeing the evidence, which is priceless!”

Please contact us for a free, no obligation demonstration of the app, or to discuss your requirements.

School app drumming up support for Emma & Milli in Crufts’ Friends for Life 2019 vote!

We are very pleased to see one of our school apps being used to drum up support for a student, Milli, and her hero assistance dog, Emma, in the Crufts’ Friends for Life award 2019.

School app support for Crufts' Emma & Milli

Golden Retriever, Emma and ‘little diamond’ Milli (eight) have today been confirmed as one of five finalists in this year’s prestigious Kennel Club Friends for Life competition – the winner will be announced in the main arena at Crufts on Sunday, March 10th. Emma and Milli made it through as the judges’ favourite for the hotly-contested ‘Hero Assistance Dog’ category.

 

Milli was born with Down’s syndrome and also suffers with a very serious heart condition. Having already undergone had two open heart surgeries – the first at just four months old – it’s no surprise that her dad, Steve, calls her his ‘little diamond’.

 

Milli’s range of conditions means that she suffers with low muscle tone, anxiety and breathlessness and her mum and dad decided to see what help was available for children with disabilities. They came across charity, Dogs for Good – the first UK assistance dog organisation to provide assistance dogs for children with disabilities – and last year Millie was matched with gorgeous goldie, Emma.

 

Continue reading on the Dogs for Good website

 

We’ve voted and will be keeping an eye out for the results of the public vote announced on Sunday 10th March at 17:20 in the Crufts main arena!

Vote for Emma & Milli here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/T7Z2VJW

 

 

Did you know that Piota is one of the UK’s leading communication app providers? We create customised, high quality and affordable mobile apps to enable schools, healthcare organisations, sports clubs and more, to communicative more effectively with their community. Visit our homepage and apps sections to discover more.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements!

BC Comms App

Transforming communication with a football club app

In summer 2018, Piota welcomed new customer Bristol City Academy football club. We developed a football club app, available on Apple and Android, with the aim of reducing staff time spent on admin whilst also improving parent experience. 

Bristol City Academy background

Bristol City FC Academy has 120 players from U9s to U18s. Communication with families and carers was absorbing a great deal of academy staff time and yet was not working smoothly. Fixture lists, team sheet information, contacts details and more were all e-mailed out to parents. Parents then tended to email or text questions directly to coaches and admin staff members. Each message required an individual reply and often needed to be forwarded internally too. The workload kept escalating.

A football club app to save time and improve communication 

With experience of creating school apps for several years, Piota knew the improvements that the Academy wanted were possible. A mobile app from Piota would create a readily accessible central information store and communication tool.  After an initial development period, the Academy tested the football club app at the start of the season and launched fully in October. By the start of December, there were 350 downloads of the app and time saving and parent experience objectives had been met.

“The app has transformed everything we do. We hardly get any emails now. By 10:30am on a Friday (team sheet day) I used to have 30 emails already. Asking which team my child is in, what’s the fixture postcode, when is the squad being emailed and so on; now I have less than 5. We have told the parents we will put the squads and match details on the app by 12 noon on a Friday. Even if they miss the notification when it goes out, now they can immediately check the answer without having to ask us.” – Emma Jolliffe, Operations Manager

See how you could improve communication and engagement – Get a free trial of your own school app!

Bristol City FC Academy

Data capture and analysis much easier

The app also brought another unexpected benefit for the Academy – data collection and analysis. The academy knew that in the two months since launch, there had been 139 absences from training reported via the app. They also had greater insight into absence reasons, which hadn’t previously been able to be recorded.

“The absence form is the best thing for me. We now have much better data about why players are absent. We can use that positively whether it’s a welfare matter or by adjusting our bus routes to help those players with transport difficulties.  Before when a parent text their coach about an absence the coach might forget to relay that to the bus driver.  He would then wait 20 minutes for the player to not turn up! Now we simply email the spreadsheet of absences straight from the app to the drivers so they know the exact situation.” – Operations Assistant, Niamh Brown

See how you could improve communication and engagement – Get a free trial of your own school app!

The football club app gets a big thumbs up from staff, but what about the reaction from parents?

Parent feedback has also been very positive and centres around how it makes their lives easier

“This App is awesome. It simplifies things”

“Loving the new way of uploading squads… so much easier to see.”

Parents already had access to PMA and Hudl for match videos and analysis but the football club app from Piota fills in the everyday communications gap. It makes all the training and fixture schedules, team sheets, change-of-plan updates and safeguarding information instantly accessible on their phones. Upload articles and send reminders or alerts using push notifications targeted to each squad or even to individuals.

Solving parent communication issues and saving time

We are always really pleased to hear positive feedback from our customers. At Bristol FC Academy, we’ve helped to solve a problem, improve internal efficiency and provide a better experience for parents and coaches alike.

“It has a professional look, is simple to use and the app is secure and GDPR compliant. The service from Piota has been quick and efficient.  They have visited us twice, updated the design of the app when requested without extra charges and provide clear detailed email replies to questions. We may extend the app to internal staff communications as well next year. But the reason we got it was to solve parents communications and save our time and it absolutely does that!” – Emma Jolliffe, Operations Manager

If you would like to discuss how a Piota app could help your sports club streamline communication and become more efficient, please do get in touch. Use our online form or contact James Dickson directly on 07726 224 060.

International School App for King’s Oak School

International School app for King’s Oak School

King’s Oak British International School was established in 1994 by parents whose intention was to provide quality education in English for children in Bucharest, Romania.

Starting as a Nursery School it reached capacity in 2004 when the school moved to a new, purpose-built site. By 2016, the school evolved into a combined Nursery, Primary and Secondary School. With such growth comes increasing demands in terms of communication, in particular with parents. As a result, King’s Oak started to investigate the possibility of an international school app.

Previously, King’s Oak sent all communication by email and found that often parents would not open or read important communications. After research into the school app market and see how user-friendly and functional the international school app from Piota is, they decided to introduce it. Parents would find a school app intuitive and informative, and crucially, would no longer miss important alerts from the school.

See how you could improve school community engagement – Get a free trial of your own school app!

International school app has a positive impact on the school community

Demonstration to launch took just 3 days and the positive impact on the school community was immediate.

Parents like new technology and the Piota App looks impressive. Parents want communication and the more ways a school does it the better. They love the app and what’s best is that it’s really setting us apart from other schools locally” – Stephen Marr, School Director

80% of parents check the school app twice a day

The international school app comes with an analytics package which helps the school quantify usage. As a result, Deputy Head, Ela Cable, can see that communication with parents has improved incredibly.

“We recently carried out a survey to parents about the app. More than 80% said that they check the app more than twice a day on average. We can target our alerts to parents, which we couldn’t do with emails. As a result, we can ensure that we better engage with our parents without bombarding them with information that they end up not reading. The Piota app has truly transformed parental engagement.” Ela Cable, Deputy Head

Find out more about our international school app

If you’re interested in understanding how a Piota app could help you improve communication and set you apart from other competitors, please contact us and a member of our team will be happy to help.

Best Educational Apps for Kids

Our pick of the top apps to feed kids’ curiosity

What are the best educational apps for kids?

At Piota, we’ve been building digital tools to support education for over 4 years, and we pride ourselves on knowing a thing or two about creating a good app. Piota apps allow for tight communication between schools and parents, but we believe that education shouldn’t be limited to the classroom. 

So, we’ve done our research and created a list of the best educational apps for kids available today.

Kids & computers – a balancing act

Parents are acutely aware that the digital world will play a huge role in their kids’ lives. Many are taking the approach that it’s better to prepare them for that future than to try to shield them from this central aspect of modern life.

As parents, we limit, we monitor, we explain. And we try to expose our kids to the positive aspects that the internet has to offer. A learning app can provide an engaging way to educate and stimulate a child’s mind, on a platform that they’re going to become increasingly familiar with as they grow older.

Like it or loathe it, education apps are taking the place of exercise books in many learning scenarios. These apps offer novel and engaging ways for kids to discover new concepts, practice key skills and learn from almost limitless resources of information.

Subtle changes, keeping the fun element

A simple shift of emphasis – devoting less of their allotted screen time to catapulting bad-tempered birds at green piggies and more time devoted to apps designed around language and numeracy for example – can support your child’s development and help them make the most of the digital revolution. We’ve picked a selection of kids learning apps that will keep your kids safe, occupied – and hopefully teach them something useful!

Our favourite learning apps for kids

Scratch Jr.

As app-developers, we fully support introducing a new generation of coders to the world. The Department of Education seems to agree, with coding now part of the National Curriculum in the UK. Scratch Jr. is a learning app for kids at the younger end of our spectrum that sets them up with the logical and lateral thinking skills that will prepare them for more advanced computer programming projects down the line.

Available: App Store, Google Play

Cost: Free

For ages: 5+

LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 Core Set

When your coding cadets graduate from Scratch Jr, they may want to move on to WeDo, LEGO® Education’s offering in the arena of code learning apps for kids. With the caveat that this app requires Bluetooth functionality, and works with the physical LEGO® modelling set, this introduces kids to programming, as they design and teach vehicles and robots to complete movements and tasks.

With a curriculum pack included that features 40 hours of instructional content, this app goes beyond programming to help kids with collaboration, presentation and problem solving to improve learning either at home or at school.

Available on: PC, Mac, Android (requires Bluetooth)

Cost: Around £130 includes substantial physical LEGO® set

For ages: 4+

Phonics Fun with Biff, Chip & Kipper 

If the names Biff, Chip and Kipper are currently a big part of your life, you probably have kids aged 4 to 9. This learning app from publishers Oxford University Press in conjunction with Nintendo features this familiar cast of characters, complements the phonics your kids learn in school and comes with a downloadable parent guide.

Available on: Nintendo 3DS & 2DS

Cost: £19.99

For ages: 4+

Sky View®

Sky View® is fast becoming a modern classic among education apps. The concept is simple – point your device towards the heavens, and it tells you which celestial objects are in view. You can even point it downwards if you want to see what’s going on in the regions of space only visible from the opposing hemisphere.

This app allows you to identify constellations in the night sky, put names to the stars and find the planets within our Solar System. Plus, for reasonably priced in-app purchases, you can remove ads or access packages of additional content that let you zoom in and learn more about various heavenly bodies and space hardware.

Available on: Android and iPhone

Cost: FREE (with in app purchases – £4.99 gets you all augmented functions in one bundle)

For ages: Sky View® carries a PEGI 3 rating, so recommended for the whole family. The beauty of this one is that it’s universally appealing to kids and adults alike.

Animate It! LITE

This delightfully neat little app is brought to you by Aardman Animation, the people that breathe life into Wallace & Gromit. This LITE version is a completely free educational app that allows young cartoonists to create, edit and watch their own animations. They can even share them online – under your supervision and with the usual safeguarding caveats applied, of course.

Available on: Android and iPhone

Cost: FREE

For ages: Animate It Lite is recommended for ages 4+ on Apple’s App Store

Woodland Trust Tree ID App

For the budding little Ray Mears in your life, this fantastic free educational app from the Woodland Trust allows them to identify trees by their bark, twigs, buds, leaves, flowers or fruit. The app works by allowing you – or your child – to compare your observations with a database of images so that you can identify the tree and learn more about it.

Available on: Android and iPhone

Cost: FREE

For ages: Animate It Lite carries a PEGI 3 rating, so recommended for the whole family, though it is recommended for ages 4+ on Apple’s App Store.

Jungle Time

This is a charming, straightforward educational app for kids with one simple aim: to teach them how to tell the time on a traditional clock. It’s bright and cheerful, has a variety of animals to choose from, and your chosen animal smiles or roars in response to your progress ­– what’s not to like?

Available on: iOS

Cost: £1.99

For ages: The App Store recommends this one for ages 4+.

The Human Body

Fantastically interactive, boundlessly comprehensive and utterly compelling, Tinybop’s The Human Body app has something to teach kids and adults alike. Artist and designer Kelli Anderson drew over 200 illustrations in order to populate this kids’ education app with attractive and informative diagrams that are animated and annotated to clearly demonstrate the functions of our bodies. Be aware that some in-app purchases are required to access information on all systems of the body.

Available on: iOS

Cost: £3.99 (plus in app purchases e.g. The Immune System 99p)

For ages: The App Store recommends this one for ages 4+.

DragonBox Apps

We couldn’t narrow it down to just one DragonBox app, so we’ve picked three: DragonBox Numbers, DragonBox Elements and DragonBox Algebra are children’s educational games that are great fun to play. Taking their visual cues from a certain range of Japanese Pocket Monsters, this range of maths-based apps bring a genuinely engaging and enjoyable gameplay element that will make even the most learning-averse child forget that they’re gaining important maths skills!

Available on: App Store, Google Play, Amazon

Cost: From £3.99

For ages: The App Store recommends these apps for ages 4+.

Mr Thorne Apps

Mr Thorne is a teacher turned YouTuber, app designer and general online educational personality whose website www.mrthornenetwork.com hosts over a dozen of the best learning apps for kids around at the moment. Whether it’s times tables, phonics, algebra or grammar, Mr Thorne’s got it covered.

Available on: iOS

Cost: From £1.99

For ages: Various apps available for Primary School key stages 1 & 2

And many more…

There are of course plenty more where those came from. As with any online content, make sure that any children’s learning app downloads are coming from a reputable source, have been favourably reviewed and that there are no known security issues.

The line between education and technology is becoming increasingly blurred and educational apps can be a fun, interactive way to support your child’s learning and growth. As parents, we have concerns about screen-time and online influences, but we can’t hold back the march of technology and the role significant role it will play in our children’s lives.

We can embrace technology and regulate our children’s exposure to it at the same time. We can guide and accompany our children on the journey, making sure their tech experience is not a solitary one. And we can take an active role at home by helping them to choose content that aids their development, like the ones covered here.

About Piota’s parental engagement app for Primary schools

We understand that being actively involved in your child’s learning can work wonders both in terms of the development that happens at home, and in supporting the learning that takes place in the classroom. For parents to stay up-to-date and fully-informed about what goes on at school, we believe communication between schools and parents is crucial.

Discover how Piota tailor apps for the specific communications requirements of primary schools.

paperless school

Becoming a paperless school within REAch2 Academy Trust

Heath Hayes Academy was the first REAch2 school to launch its Piota school app in January 2017. Since becoming a paperless school and switching to the app for all their parent communication, download numbers have peaked at over 800. The school take full advantage of all the app’s features, including social media feed integration, a rich information section and make fantastic use of forms and surveys.

“We love Piota…and use it for all our parent communication, including direct message notifications. Thanks to the app we are a paperless school. We love the fact we can get parent consent through the app – it’s never been easier.” Lisa Bate, SBM

Heath Hayes Academy App

Since it’s success, a further 6 schools have joined the Piota community. Parent feedback is very positive and focuses on the convenience of having all the information you need in one easily accessible place on your phone. Highlights include the ability to complete absence or consent forms online, add events directly from the school calendar to your phone calendar, and even find out what’s on the lunch menu tomorrow! The app is now a key part of school life for both teachers and parents.

“It saves us time and money! We load the app full of everything parents need and use it to send instant messages. Parents have been blown away. We would be lost without our app. Our school couldn’t operate without it.” Karen Dixson, SBM

If you’d like to contact us for more information or discuss how a Piota school app could help your school become paperless, our team would love to hear from you.

school communications

A customised app within a day

Hollygirt School is an independent school in Nottingham founded in 1877 with 200+ boys and girls aged between 3 and 16. It provides an outstanding education in a nurturing and inspirational environment and has won very high ratings from parents and ISI alike. Read how Hollygirt School has used its app to improve their school communications.

Quick and easy to use

Marketing manager Roberta Hutley met Piota at the AMCIS conference in May 2018. Piota delivered her a customised app the following day to try free for a month. The school found the administration portal very easy to use and quickly filled the app with key information. Piota assisted by uploading Hollygirt’s website news, social media feeds and calendar. These automatically stream into the app so no duplication of work is required. It saves the school time and ensures parents do not miss out on important school news and events.

See how you could improve parental engagement – Get a free trial of your own school app!

“We found the set up process exceptionally quick and easy. Any queries we’ve had since the launch of our app have been dealt with quickly and effectively by the Piota team” said Roberta.

Consistently positive feedback

A trial with a small group of staff and parents followed before launch to all parents at the start of the 2018/19 academic year. Feedback has been consistently positive in the weeks since launch to date, from both the school and from parents.

“We’ve had lots of hugely positive comments from parents stating how convenient it is to have everything in one place and immediately accessible on their phones. It is clear that the push notifications on the app have helped to ensure fewer letters and events are being missed than used to happen when school communications were sent by email, paper letters and website.”

To find out how a Piota school app could help your school communications, get in touch today with a member of our team who will be happy to help.

Parental communication school app

An innovative approach to parental communication

Oasis Academy Warndon is an inclusive academy for children aged between 2 and 11 located on the periphery of Worcester City. As a school, they are committed to two things:

1. Delivering first-class education for all of their students
2. Playing an active role in the local community of Warndon and the surrounding area. 

It is this ethos of aspiring to provide a truly holistic education and to build an interconnected community that led the school to adopt an innovative approach to parental communication: a customised school app.

Tech-savvy parents and environmental benefits

Shortly before the Christmas holiday period, Emily Hobson, the Principal, became aware of just how much an app could do for a school like theirs. So many parents now have smartphones, and have them on continually, so switching to a tech solution was a huge draw.

It also gave them the perfect opportunity to make gains in their environmental goals. Prior to the app, they had been sending out hundreds of leaflets and letters every week. Now, they are on track to be totally paperless by Easter!

See how you could improve parental engagement – Get a free trial of your own school app!

Faster communication

The benefits of this app are completely evident – the platform allows you to see how many parents have registered their devices. You can see that parents are picking up messages a lot quicker than before when staff were calling and leaving voice messages. As Amey, head of media at Warndon Academy says:

“Now, if they don’t get the message one way, they can see it on the app as well.”

This change has saved Amey an unfathomable amount of time in printing leaflets and calling to chase up parents.

The school still use a number of channels for parental communication, including social media and their website. However, the app gives them the unique capability of sending secure direct messages to individual parents at the push of a button. This security feature is one of many that Piota is able to provide to schools. See which other features are available on our apps.

Good technical support

About their experience with Piota, Amey said:

“Overall the app has worked really well. Any problems that we’ve had, we’ve contacted Claire (our designated contact), she’s fab. She’s been in regular contact with me to tell me of any changes and I’ve done the same letting them know about any problems and they’ve been resolved really quickly.”

To find out how a Piota school app could revolutionise your parental communication, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.

Five reasons to get a customised school app

If you could change one thing about the way you communicate with parents, then what would it be? Perhaps you would want to get through to more parents? Save money? Save time? Minimise missed communication? If any of these are on your wish-list, read on!

Reach more parents

Customised school app - improving parental communicationOver 95% of parents now own a smartphone and regularly use apps. With a customised school app you can communicate with parents in a familiar and friendly format, on the devices they have with them all the time.

“Being able to send unlimited messages and reminders directly to mobile phones as push notifications without worrying about the cost means there is hardly any missed communication.” Headteacher, Essex

Save money

With a customised school app, you can instantly send notifications and important messages home at the touch of a button. No more money spent on sending letters home. No more wasted letters, crumpled at the bottom of rucksacks. No more charges for sending text messages. Just instant, reliable and affordable communication.

Save time

How much time does your admin team spend on writing and sending letters home? How much time do your teaching staff spend chasing reply slips? These tasks can be completed using a Piota school app. Send instant messages and important information, manage reply slips and even conduct parent surveys.

Share important information

Since September 2016, it has been an Ofsted requirement to share certain key information on your school’s website. Why not go one step further and put it on the app? With a customised school app, teachers can upload information about what pupils are learning, including links to homework tasks, resources and support materials.  Putting this information where it can be accessed by the people who need it when they need it makes it so much more meaningful.

Improve relationships with parents

A customised school app allows you to send unlimited notifications to parents at no additional cost.  That means you can get into the habit of sharing the good news with parents on a regular basis in order to build positive relationships with them.  If parents are used to receiving regular communication from you and have had a positive experience, this will make them more receptive to all communication.