School comms transformed at Pick Me Academy

After a period of fast growth, Pick Me Academy in Bucharest, Romania, needed to adapt their school-to-parent communications (school comms). They launched their Piota international school app in November 2018.

Pick Me Academy Background

Pick Me Academy was founded in 2014 as a kindergarten teaching the British curriculum in an English speaking environment in Bucharest, Romania. In just five years since then, owner Denis Popescu has successfully expanded it to nearly 200 pupils on three sites, adding a primary school section, gaining Cobis accreditation and preparing to start teaching for the Cambridge International Examinations.

School comms

Coping with such fast growth has required adapting practice and procedures in many areas, one of which was school comms. In the early days, parents would contact Denis directly about all matters. As the school grew, this became too time-consuming to be practical. Pick Me met Piota in mid-2018 and saw the potential for a secure school app to both deliver a better service to parents and streamline communications internally.

School app launch

Pick Me launched it's school app in November 2018 and advised parents it would become the primary school communication tool. The school would stop using email, texts, paper and phone calls wherever possible - instead all school comms would be on the app. By Christmas 2018 the app had been downloaded 375 times (April 2019 update: 530) and has been used at least once by over 300 people every month since. The school now sends out only one routine email per month (parent invoices) and time spent on the phone with parents has dropped by at least 60%.

School app feedback

The app is “one point of contact for all kinds of messages, both sent and received” explains school director Tudor Popescu, and “it has had a big impact in freeing up management team time”.

Parents quickly learned to check the app instead of calling about everyday matters such as the lunch menu or their child’s daily schedule. When they do have a personal question, the app channels them straight to the appropriate school contact. Complaints have dropped because parents can no longer claim they did not receive an email about a trip for instance, when the evidence is on the app that they did. Parents submit optional activities choices on the app, making processing easier.

Feedback is also easier to collate. The school asked parents for feedback on the app about a Christmas present policy, it received over 200 responses in a week, automatically uploaded and summarised in a spreadsheet on the app console.

In summary, the app “helps parents to organise themselves, being easy to use” and instantly accessible on their phones.

“We can’t think what we would do without it now” says Tudor, “It really helps us a lot everyday”.

Denis now plans to extend use of the school comms app by providing more detailed information class by class. Equipping parents with even more information will enable them to meet the school’s vision of empowering children to reach their full potential.

For more information about Piota international school apps, please contact Arron Cleverdon, either by e-mail or +44 (0)7368 422479

The Barn Nursery School – A nursery app to keep parents in the loop

Have you ever wondered whether getting a nursery or school app would be “worth it”?

If so, take a look at the article below, written by Sal McKeown for Practical Pre-School, which describes the experience of The Barn Nursery School and the decision to invest in a nursery app.

Supporting families

Sharon Cooper, co-owner of The Barn Nursery School wanted a “go-to resource” where parents could find out what was going on at the nursery,

“For us, it’s about making the sharing of information as convenient as possible for everyone.”

The nursery school downloaded several other nursery app’s before deciding to go with a Piota app, as it looked attractive and easy to use. This doesn’t mean a compromise on features though. When we speak to customers, the key things they want the app to be able to do are:

  • provide a central source of easily accessible information for parents and carers
  • integrate existing communication channels (twitter / facebook / website)
  • display text, photos, PDF menus, and videos
  • send messages to parent and carer’s, with the flexibility to send to one, many or everyone depending on the content.

Our apps do all this and more, check out our features page for more information.

So, the apps are great for parents and carers, but what about from the nursery perspective?

We build the app’s in a way which makes them accessible to all users. Reducing workload and administration time is usually one of the reasons you’ve decided upon an app, so we make them simple to use so you can start saving time and money straight away.

There’s definitely no need to be a technical expert in order to manage and upload content on to your app. Nevertheless, we do give full training during your trial, and have a friendly support team to provide on-going assistance / trouble shooting should you need it.

According to Sharon at The Barn Nursery School, you probably won’t!

“The app is simple to use and I think it’s very good value.” 

If you are interested in trialling your own nursery or school app, please get in contact with a member of the team today.

Talking Digital - The Barn Nursery School App

 

BC Comms App

Bristol City Academy Football Club app – transforming communication with a football club app from Piota

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. Football club app for Bristol City FC Academy

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

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

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.

Bristol City FC Academy app

 

Piota Apps – 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

Contact us

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, RomaniaKing's Oak Romania School App

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 for 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 seeing 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.

International school app has positive impact on 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.

paperless school

Becoming a paperless school within REAch2 Academy Trust

Heath Hayes Academy was the first REAch2 school to launch it’s 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

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.

Best wishes

Piota Apps

school communications

Hollygirt Independent School App

Hollygirt School is an independent school in Nottingham founded in 1877 with 200+ boys and girls aged between 3 and 16. It provides 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 the Piota app to improve their school communications.

Customised app within a day

Marketing manager Roberta Hutley met Piota at the AMCIS conference in May 2018. Piota delivered her a customised app the following day to trial 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.

“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

Oasis Academy Warndon

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 and 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!

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 secure feature is one of many that Piota Apps is able to provide to schools. See what other features are available on our app.

Good technical support

About their experience with Piota Apps, 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.