How to build a school app

Step 1.

Decide what you are trying to achieve with an app, it sounds obvious but is probably the most important decision you will make. Here are a few ideas:
  1. Provide a mobile version of your school website, simply promote school news, events and newsletters in a format that is more suited to mobile devices
  2. Use the app to push messages to parents, if you need more than just a blanket push, you will need a way of identifying individual parents, but this could save£000,s for the school     
  3. Provide details of timetables, homework, detentions, attendance etc. This will require a snyc with your MIS but takes your app in a much more interesting direction
  4. Log progress, your app could allow students to log progress daily as part of their e-portfolio
  5. Something else, you could have a really wonderful idea about what a school app could do for your school, for example we produce GPS Sixth form registration apps, now is the time to scope it out, not half way through the launch.

Step 2.

Survey parents and pupils to find out what devices they are using
The crucial information here is penetration of smartphone usage and how many students/parents are using Windows devices, because if it is a significant proportion you need to consider launching a Windows version

Step 3.

Select a partner company
There are a growing number of companies offering apps and each one offers something slightly different. We are slightly biased but if you are having trouble identifying a provider contact us for an informal chat.

Step 4.

Build it
This part should be easy for you as your provider will be doing all the work, however make sure you get a preview version that you can provide feedback on if any changes are needed and show it to as many people as you can before launch as everyone has a different opinion.

Step 5.

Promote it
  • How do you promote to parents to download the app and register
  • Email download link out to all parents and students.
  • Is the QR code printed on a newsletter or published on school website, or placed around school?
  • Launch at Parents Evening? Involve PTA?  Guide parents at face to face meetings?

Step 6.

Use it
These apps are only a tool and as with any tool they need to used to be useful.