Getting an app up and running in just 3 days

Jewellery Quarter Academy is a secondary school with around 500 students in Birmingham. They first contacted us on March 10th and moved fast, launching their customised app to parents in just 3 days. Jamie Barton, Deputy Headteacher, told us how they were getting on with their app.

Children of Jewellery Quarter Academy

How did the school envisage using its app and how did this change in response to Covid-19?

Jewellery Quarter was looking for an app to improve parental engagement, but when coronavirus accelerated it quickly adapted it into a central online reference point for student learning resources. Initially, they provided learning resources on the app using PDFs in order to reach their whole audience, as many families did not have access to laptops. In response to the crisis, Jewellery Quarter bought and delivered laptops to families that did not have them so families had at least one device plus their app to access information. Making sure that the lower socio-economic families had access to the learning resources was paramount to facilitating home learning.

Using instant push notification alerts was particularly useful for sharing information about learning resource updates as well as broader information such as free weekly school meal vouchers provided by the government. The forms section improved data capture and rekindled engagement with parents. When Jewellery Quarter sent a message out to encourage parents to fill in the application for their voucher, “We received over 100 responses to the form within the space of 2 hours”.

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

How has the app changed their communication strategy?

Very few parents were engaging meaningfully with the website, whereas they do with an app.“Having something that is in the palm of your hand has been a game-changer”. Push notifications are used to launch the week, share learning strategies and to point parents to where further information is housed. Having its own app has enabled Jewellery Quarter to provide a centralised hub of information that is easily accessible by their whole audience.  Parental engagement has increased, it played a vital role in communications during coronavirus and “it’s one of the main success stories of this academic year”.

How easy has their app been to use?

The staff love the app and are constantly suggesting new content for it. Staff, as well as parents and students, have downloaded the app to keep themselves updated and use the alerts to serve as reminders. When form tutors do their weekly check-in with students, they are able to refer to sections of the app and sign-post information. Both Mr Barton and the Office Manager manage the app and have found it very easy to use, “I feel like the management of it is really easy, it took me only half an hour to train our Office Manager on it”. After an initial training session, they felt well equipped to launch their app to their audience and had it up and running quickly with minimum fuss. The Office Manager handles administrative updates while Mr Barton handles teaching updates. Managing the app has been easy as he is able to update it without being in front of a computer, “I’ve got the console to do the editing on my phone and laptop, this gives the flexibility of location. If I am given some information to send out in an alert, I can do it then and there”.

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

Which other features of the app are they using and why?

The app design is versatile and can be changed quickly. Jewellery Quarter created an extra-curricular section in the student area of the app which has Monday Masterclasses, Tuesday Talent, Wednesday Wisdom, Thursday Thoughts and Friday Fun and made each year group responsible for contributing content to them. “We tried to develop the student area with everything they will need to continue their learning and shared some myth busters about the coronavirus crisis”. They also use their forms to collect student suggestions and relay these insights to the student parliament.

Has the app been a hit with parents?

Their app has “become the chief medium of communication between the school and families”. This has provided a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the classroom and the home and the use their app to signpost helpful information and frequently asked questions. “Now I feel like we don’t have anybody that is unreachable”. So far Jewellery Quarter has had 800 downloads, 197 of these by Friday of the first week. In a recent ‘Our new app’ survey, 89% of parents were positive about the impact the use of the app has had: “It’s amazing, I like the hands-on information, it is very informative and easy to use”.

To find out about more about our schools apps, please see our website or contact us at: hello@piota.co.uk

Marymount Paris logo

Marymount Paris makes the most of its app

We recently caught up with Kate des Places, Director of External Relations at Marymount Paris to see how they were getting on with their app.

In September 2019, Marymount Paris decided to revisit their communications strategy. “Email management was becoming cumbersome” and it was all too easy for important messages from school to be lost in a parent’s already crowded inbox. Having a customised app that uses push notifications cuts through the clutter and makes sure information is both seen and received; “it made sense to have a daily communications tool you can put in your pocket; the information is literally at your fingertips”

Marymount Paris' app on Apple and Android devices
Marymount’s app on Apple and Android devices

Parents increasingly wanted information in real-time and available in a centralised place on their smartphones and devices, so the natural solution was to test an app.  This turned out to be the perfect solution as it allowed them to centralise all of the school’s information, arrange it according to different stakeholder needs, whilst also improving parental engagement. Marymount Paris has found that sending updates and urgent messages via their app is more effective than emailing parents; they are more visible to parents, and by centralising everything in one place parents have a hub for information directly accessible whenever needed. Kate des Place says their app has become the “go-to place for parents looking for information“.

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

The ability to customise their app was key for Marymount Paris, as they needed it to be flexible: in a complex organisation with lots going on, making changes to their app interface, scheduling alerts and updating information easily and efficiently is critical. 

During the Covid-19 crisis, the school has used its app to keep parents in the loop in real-time and ensure important information was communicated instantly to the relevant people in bite-sized chunks. They also quickly reconfigured the app design to feature more prominently their Remote Learning resources, making them super-easy to access via the app on tablets or phone. “Piota was so responsive“, always on hand to assist in making any changes and helping the school to fully maximise the effectiveness of its app. The architecture has also meant that the school can put safe, effective online learning resources within easy reach – at the click of a ‘button’ – of younger learners – many of whom are relying on iPads or tablets for school, and who are not used to navigating online platforms or the internet.

This has been extremely helpful for parents who are juggling teleworking and need children to become digitally autonomous overnight. Having an app has really made a difference to parental engagement too: “parents love it, it’s responsive and we can communicate things in advance”. The staff have encouraged parents to use the app by doing live demonstrations during drop-off and pick-up times. It has helped to build a stronger sense of community and encouraged a dialogue about how using technology can help parents feel more involved and by extension improve student’s learning. The school roll is 400 but the app has been downloaded over 1,000 times now as parents download it on all their devices to make sure they can remain in close touch:

Increased parental engagement on the app over time
Increased parental engagement over time

Marymount Paris has had a great experience with their app to date and are continuing to customise it to meet their needs throughout the school year.  They have found it so “easy to use” and are delighted that it is so accessible and easy to manage. Their communications team navigated it with ease: “Anyone can do it!”.

To find out about more about our schools apps, please see our website or contact us at: hello@piota.co.uk

New Primary’s app works wonders

We caught up with Karyn Ray, Headteacher of New End Primary School in Camden, about her recent experience using their school app during the coronavirus crisis.

Over time, the app had made communicating with parents much easier and the usage of the app has increased as the crisis escalated. Sending out alerts via their app was more helpful than emails as emails are not always monitored by parents at times like this. The school had been able to pre-load any information it wanted to send out and break it up into smaller chunks: “You do it once and it’s done”. Ms Ray told us that this was an effective strategy as parents can often feel bombarded when given too much information in one go. The app also allows schools to pre-select who can see which alerts, making sure any updates sent out are relevant and useful.

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

A significant increase engagement and views
Engagement and views have increased significantly

Using the app to communicate has also saved time. To email the whole school she used to have to split the mailing list into four to stay within capacity limits, and copy and paste the message to send it in four batches. Using the app she can do it all at once: “it can be up to 4x faster, and even while working remotely we can contact both staff and parents”. The app also displays information even when offline or during network outages. If an important alert has been sent out, the alert will still be readable for parents. 

Before using an app, New End communicated with parents via emails and text messages. Text messages had proved to be time consuming, expensive and inefficient: texts were limited by characters and if a link was shared it would swallow up the entire allowance. Switching to the app allowed New End to send out as many alerts as they needed without any restrictions, free of charge and as a result saved the school money. New End Primary now uses its app as the main communication channel with parents and is looking at phasing out email over time.

New End Primary's school app on an Android device
New End Primary’s school app on an Android device

New End Primary’s experience has proved that using an app can: improve parental engagement, (information is more centralised and easily digestible), modernise communications, (parents are tech-savvy and already use apps for every other aspects of their lives) and smooth the period ahead while schools are likely to be opening and closing more frequently and at short notice. The app can be updated instantly and information is easily shared and scheduled.

We’d be delighted to offer a free trial to any school.
Annual cost starts at £600 p.a.
To learn more please see our website or contact us at: hello@piota.co.uk

Reduce teacher workload

Improve parental engagement whilst reducing teacher workload

Piota Apps, as a technology supplier within the UK education industry, has been set a challenge! Improve parental engagement whilst ensuring we reduce teacher workload by up to 5 hours per term.

On 3 April 2019, the Department for Education published a policy paper “Realising the potential of technology in education”. It’s purpose is to educate and influence both the education sector and technology providers to improve the use of technology.

“We aim to support and enable the education sector in England to help develop and embed technology in a way that cuts workload, fosters efficiencies, removes barriers to education and ultimately drives improvements in educational outcomes.”

The policy paper sets a number of challenges, requiring the education sector and technology businesses to work together to innovate effectively.

Reducing teacher workload

It’s no surprise that challenge 1 in the DfE list relates to reducing teacher workload. In a survey carried out by the NEU teaching union, 40% of teachers say they will no longer be working in education in 5 years time. The main reason for leaving teaching? Workload was the main reason for leaving for 62% of respondents.

So with our teachers, school leaders and support staff exhausted, what can we do to help reduce their workload?

This is where Challenge 1 in the policy paper comes in.

Challenge 1: “Improve parental engagement and communication, whilst cutting related teacher workload by up to five hours per term. Department for Education

Keeping parents engaged - improving pupil outcomes

A high level of parental engagement can be incredibly important for a child’s education and attainment. The primary reason that our school app was founded was to provide better communication between schools and parents. What has become increasingly important, is ensuring that the technology schools use to improve parental engagement, impacts positively on teacher workload.

Our school app has very positive feedback and we’re confident that it can meet the challenge!

“The app has saved us admin time as we are able to send out messages quicker than via other methods. I would estimate two-three hours of time per week are saved by this.” Russell King, Deputy Headteacher

And remember, it’s not only time that can be saved but also money with a mass reduction in the use of photocopying!

“[Our] school app has saved us money. It is so quick to get the information out to parents. No photocopying newsletters – just straight out to the target audience.”

After Easter, we will be gaining feedback from all our schools regarding the app and reducing workload. If you’d like to send us some feedback, or enquire about how an app could help reduce your teacher workload, contact us today.

We will be reporting back with our survey results and next round of innovation shortly!

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 Barn Nursery App

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 apps 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

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.

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!

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.

Why an app is the best gift for schools this Christmas

Christmas is a magical time of year, but it’s also one of the most stress-inducing. Schools experience the latter of these feelings more than most, as a mix of bad weather, full-on festivities and rises in unauthorised absences can be challenging to manage.

Piota app parental engagement christmasWith Christmas being so busy, clear communication between schools and parents is crucial. With so many events often taking place circumstances can often change at the last minute, so keeping parents in the know is key to avoiding a frosty relationship during the season of goodwill.

That’s why introducing a customised school app from Piota can be the best gift you can get your school this year. Presenting an instantly accessible information hub, these apps help keep parents aware and engaged about everything affecting their child leading up to the holidays.

Here are four areas where our parental engagement app helps schools enjoy a Merry Christmas.

Boost the Participation in Festive Activities

Christmas brings with it an avalanche of events that students can get involved in. Schools are encouraged to embrace the festivities and host a wide range of activities during December, including special Christmas dinners, the school nativity or even a carol concert.

A wide range of events means a wide range of letters and permission slips for parents to inform them of what’s taking place. This can cost a fair chunk of time and money, and it’s all too easy for these to get lost in students’ bags, meaning they miss out on the festive fun.

Our apps can reduce expense and increase engagement. App features like push notifications inform parents about any upcoming activities pupils can participate in directly to their phone, and consent forms can be filled in directly via the app, providing instant communication between the school and parents. This means no important information gets misplaced, and parents are always aware of when and where events take place.

Feedback forms included within the app also allow parents to make any of their own suggestions for inventive Christmas events, or they can offer to volunteer.

Clarify Important Dates and Times

Christmas is the usual end point for a school’s Autumn term. However, the specific date can vary from school to school.

Through our communication app, schools can keep a calendar of their term dates for parents to check throughout the year and send reminders as the last day approaches, preventing the opportunity for physical newsletters to be misplaced. Parents can also be directly informed if the finishing time is earlier in the day or year than usual.

It’s also important to consider that January is an important month for exams in secondary schools. Schools can send parents and students the dates and times for any assessments with the app, as well as any essential information and revision materials.

Prevent Getting Snowed Under by Calls About Adverse Weather

One of the biggest headaches for schools and parents around Christmas is the winter weather. The increased likelihood of rain, wind, snow and ice can make areas of the school grounds dangerous, and sometimes cause schools to close outright.

This occurred in December 2017, with thousands of schools across the UK forced to shut due to the weather, with many teachers and students unable to travel. Snow days always add additional complexity for working parents, who may need to make last-minute arrangements to look after their children.

Our app helps ensure tensions don’t escalate by directly informing parents that schools are closed at the earliest convenience – no need for the school to field hundreds of calls or parents to continually check the school website, instead, instant alerts are sent out as updates happen. Plus, when school is open but bad weather has caused hazards on the grounds, parents and students can be warned to avoid these areas and take any necessary precautions.

Alongside this, teachers can send work/resources through to parents for their children to complete while school is closed to make sure they don’t miss anything important.

We have recently upgraded our servers to handle the surge in traffic snow days can cause, ensuring schools maintain clear communication with parents during these potentially hectic events.

Keep on Top of Unauthorised Absences

A final area our app can help is with managing and curtailing unauthorised absences. The winter months can be a big cause of dropped attendance, whether it’s due to sickness, truancy or unpermitted holiday time.

This app helps you get to the bottom of the absences more efficiently and directly. Instead of having to spend valuable time individually phoning parents or writing letters, a standardised message can be sent to parents to check the whereabouts of their children, allowing them to provide a response and quickly solve any mystery.

This efficiency works both ways, as parents can complete a short absence form on the app about their child being unable to attend school, reducing the burden placed on admin staff to handle multiple phone calls at once, particularly during the winter cold and flu seasons.

An App That’s Not Just for Christmas

Keeping control during the hectic build-up to Christmas is a challenge for any school. But, by maintaining a strong link to parents during this period through our app, schools can increase efficiency of communication and enter the holiday period on a high.

However, our app is not just for Christmas – it improves engagement between schools and parents at all times of year. Piota’s trusted school apps streamline how you communicate with parents and other users, creating a one-stop-shop of essential information, increasing efficiency and reducing costs with competitive pricing.

If you’d like to learn how our dynamic mobile apps can help strengthen ties between your school and its community, contact us today for a quote, or get your free trial.

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.