Harpenden Academy is a primary free school in Hertfordshire. It uses a free private social networking app for parents called Classlist.
The school’s use of the app is managed by its parent teacher association (PTA), ‘Friends of Harpenden Academy’. We spoke to the chair of the PTA about how the school uses the app to engage with the school community and simplify communications.
The school previously used a range of communication methods, including messages in bookbags, newsletters, Facebook pages, Twitter, weekly class representative emails and posters. This could be confusing for parents.
Easier to communicate
Using the app has enabled the school to consolidate all its communications into one channel. It has also facilitated an easier way to gather parent opinions on day-to-day school issues.
Engaging the school community
Since introducing the app, the chair has noticed further engagement from working parents who are unable to collect their child from the school gate, or who collect them later from after-school clubs. Using the app, these parents can more easily plan opportunities to engage with the school when it suits them.
The app also enables parents who have English as an additional language to access information about what’s going on in school more easily. The format of the information is also easily digestible, and helps these parents to feel involved socially despite some language barriers.
The chair uses the volunteer recruitment tool on Classlist to sign up parents to time slots for activities such as reading with pupils or assisting in the school library.
She said that since the forum is open to the relevant class, parents can see when another parent has volunteered for a slot, so the administration is much faster than managing emails or returned slips from letters.
Harpenden Academy: http://www.harpendenacademy.org/
NOTE: This case study was originally published on The Key