Dedicated apps have become one of the most commonplace forms of communication for many businesses. For the vast majority of smartphone users, it’s expected that their favourite software, stores, or other online sites, have an app that’s responsive for those smaller screens. 

Apps typically provide users with a simpler, more user-friendly way to interact with software. They are created to maximise efficiency for the most common tasks, taking advantage of the accessibility of a smartphone or tablet.  

Schools can reap the same benefits by implementing a range of apps for the full school community. While school management software is extensive, as it has need to be, there are plenty of regular tasks that can be scaled down to a more manageable experience for those that interact with it on a daily basis.  

So, when considering implementing an app for parents at your school, what should you look for? Are there key features that you need to keep your community of parents connected? 

Self-service school information and contact details 

Typically, when a parent is looking for information or has a question, their first port of call would be to get in touch with their child’s teacher. They are often the most recognisable member of staff at your school from both the parent and student’s perspective.  

However, it’s no secret that the role of a teacher is one of the most demanding careers. Teacher time management is a hot topic in schools, and many find it challenging to manage all the tasks that are required within the role in modern schools. 

In fact, research suggests that around a third of teachers walk away from the profession after only five years.  

School leaders continue to look for ways to better support their teachers. Software has the potential to impact school staff’s ability to manage their individual roles and the administrative tasks that come with day-to-day operations.  

School app for parents

Similarly, your school software should also help to facilitate the connection between parents and your school, while also prioritising time management for your body of teachers. A school app for parents should provide an easy, one-stop-shop for all key school information. Ultimately, this provides them with a self-service solution for all their most common questions. If they cannot find what they need, then the app can provide the appropriate contact details, according to your school’s set up.  

Push notifications and automated alerts 

Many schools have previously relied on email notifications, SMS, newsletters, or similar styles of communication to share key school information. While these remain valuable pieces of correspondence, particularly SMS for emergency, immediate communications, today’s parents expect a more varied approach and to be kept in the loop much more effectively.  

Push notifications and alert automation ensure that parents receive key data points and information almost instantly. The modern parent will likely engage with a variety of apps daily for all areas of life management. It’s important to meet their expectations while also finding an efficient way to share key events and information.  

Automated alerts also help to remove the administrative burden from your teams. Once they are set up within your systems, your staff no longer need to manually share information with the wider school community. Your software will carry out your preferences for you, sharing data across all areas of the MIS, integrated systems, apps, and more. 

App notifications can be set up according to your schools and the individual parents preferences in the iSAMS App for parents. You can share key health and wellbeing details, flag events of concern or for monitoring, highlight news and key updates about the school or their child’s care, and more.  

Accessibility and responsiveness 

We all interact with a variety of devices every day. Whether we are interacting with sites on our phones, tablets, desktops, or laptops, we expect the same positive experience throughout. However, despite it being important to provide a user-friendly experience with your apps and websites, it’s not a given.  

Your school websites and apps should meet the needs of all parents and be accessible to all, regardless of when, where, and how they are accessing the information. 

Not only that, but your school apps should cater for all kinds of accessibility requirements and needs. It’s important to demonstrate your understanding of the individual needs of your community. Ensure that your school app for parents is as accessible as possible, while maintaining a responsiveness across platforms.  

Behaviour, detention, and wellbeing 

While all school information is vital to a student’s ability to develop and achieve, there are some key groups of information that can help a parent get a better understanding of their child’s school experience.  

School app for parents

The benefit of an integrated school app for parents is that your MIS and apps can work together to provide parents with the information that they need, and that you wish to share. It’s not necessary, nor is it secure, to provide parents with every data point relating to your school’s daily operations.  

However, ensure that parents can access all the vital details relating to their child’s overall wellbeing, including behavioural and conduct data. This benefits all parties, including parents, the student, and the school. When the care of a student's wellbeing extends both into the school and into the home, the school community can work together to inhabit a holistic approach to supporting them.  

Ultimately, a well-supported student is able to perform much better at school and achieve academic success, which is the overall goal of any school.  

Secure fee payment management 

Providing an efficient method of payment is key to ensuring that invoices are paid in a timely manner for your school’s finance department. Chasing arrears and unpaid invoices can be time consuming, so it’s vital to provide tools that can help to reduce this admin. Parents also expect more flexible options for payments than ever before, as our daily apps and websites cater for a range of methods. 

While there may be additional circumstances to consider that contribute to a missed payment, offering a simple, integrated payment solution can reduce friction in the fee payment process.  

Provide parents with multiple payment methods to ensure your school is being as flexible as possible. iSAMS Payments was created to enable parents to pay fees or deposits quickly and easily using a single log in. The gateway prioritises security and removes the need for invoicing and its associated risks.  

For schools, iSAMS Payments features built-in accounting codes, supports split billing and varies, multi-transactional payments – making it easy to separate registration deposits, school fees, and other funding for extracurricular activities.  

School reports, timetables, and exams 

Paperless is the new norm in all areas of our life admin. For example, chances are you’re managing your household bills in apps or online portals, you aren’t receiving paper bank statements in the post, and you communicate electronically with the workplace, your healthcare professionals, and more.  

The majority of schools today have made a concerted effort to go paperless. This is key for data security, but also makes for more efficient processes. Staff can focus on their roles, rather than manual tasks like scanning and searching for documents.  

The same benefit can be extended to parents with the right school app. School reports, timetables, exam information, and more should be as accessible as any other piece of school information. It can be easy to stick with tradition – but making these key documents accessible in apps and portals ensures that parents can consistently access their child’s performance data and monitor their school career.  

School app for parents

The more informed parents are, the better they can support their child and ensure they are up to date and engaged with key milestones and events. For example, the upcoming integrated iSAMS Homework Module will enable parents to keep a keen eye on their child’s homework progress and provide better support for these assignments in the home environment, where needed. Similarly, your apps should support your community of parents in tracking performance and progress across their child’s school career.  

iSAMS school apps for parents 

iSAMS offers a range of apps and portals to meet the needs of your entire school community, including parents, teachers, and students. These were created to enable schools to maintain open lines of communication with all those involved in a student’s care, and create a connection between home and school life.  

The suite of iSAMS apps includes iParent and the parent portal. They are both dedicated solutions that keep parents up to date on all key school information. Offering push notifications, behavioural and wellbeing data, a seamless integration with your school software, and more – iParent was built with independent school parents in mind. 

Interested in learning more about our Apps for school comms? You can watch a full demonstration below.