The Project - PHMAT Applications
Perry Hall Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), a growing academy trust based in Wolverhampton, wanted to take advantage of mobile applications to help with communication between staff, students and parents. With an ever-growing list of academies coming on board, each school needed its own app tailored to their specific information. To date, the MAT has six schools on board in the Wolverhampton, Tamworth and Worcester areas.
To do this and keep the design of the apps consistent, we worked with The Studio Group in Wolverhampton who created the original branding for the MAT and each school. They produced excellent designs for the apps that allow each school to be unique but follow the same guidelines along with fitting in with the existing websites.
Each app has an emphasis on push notifications to make communication between the school and parents more streamlined.
Perry Hall Primary School converted to an academy after seeking more control and autonomy over the budget and services in 2013. Perry Hall was delivering School to School support to Berrybrook Primary at the time who opted to join the trust in 2014 sparking the creation of Perry Hall Multi-Academy Trust (MAT).
Dunstall Hill, Bird’s Bush, Woodthorne and Stanley Road Primary Schools have all since joined the MAT family.
We created six separate, self-contained mobile apps for Android and iOS phones, one for each school. They are independent of one another and are all downloadable directly from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
Each app is independent but follows the same functionality and design guidelines. Each app is branded to the specific school using their set colour scheme and logo (branding) allowing each app to feel connected to the school but be consistent with the overall design of the MAT, similar to how the school’s websites work.
The apps are designed to show relevant information about each school to the user, such as uniform policy, school meal details, information about the school and the MAT along with contact details and the names of key individuals.
All the schools in the MAT have existing websites where staff update the news section with newsletters, blogs and essential pieces of information for parents, staff and students. The app utilises this by pulling in the news directly from the website. This functionality was designed to save staff time and allow them to upload in one single area on the website for both the app and the site.
We also pull essential dates from the shared school calendar directly into the app, again saving the staff time and allowing users to be kept up-to-date.
The biggest draw for the MAT when thinking about creating these apps were the Push Notifications. If you haven’t read our blog about push notifications, check it out here.
Push Notifications are a great way to communicate with app users. Using OneSignal integration, we allowed users to select their notification preferences in the settings page. This allows the users to choose which year group notifications they want to receive. By default, the users can opt in to receiving general notifications that are posted by the staff. Staff members log into the OneSignal dashboard and send a push notification to all users or a specific group.
The apps push notifications to give the MAT an alternative to traditional costly SMS text services and allow the schools to inform parents about and changes to the school for free. It also allows them to highlight newsletters and blog posts to increase engagement.
The MAT schools now have branded apps that they can use to help communicate with parents using modern technology. They can now inform parents quicker and easier about newsletters, exciting updates about the school and short term information changes which are always useful when current events effect day to day routines.
Feedback has been tremendous, and adoption from parents has been even better. As more schools come on board the incredibly successful MAT, we can see them enjoying the same benefits in the future.
Feeling inspired by what Perry Hall Multi-Academy Trust was able to achieve with their incredible range of apps to improve communication? Then contact VOiD Applications today, to see how we can help you.