Beaumont Hill Academy parents get techno boost

Education Village

Friday, 7th July 2017

Beaumont Hill Academy parents get techno boost

TECH teachers develop bespoke communications tool to help boost parental engagement

TECHNOLOGY teachers have developed a bespoke communications tool to help boost parental engagement in school.

IT technicians at Beaumont Hill Academy, Darlington, a specialist provider for children with complex needs, are preparing to launch an app to enable parents to become more informed and involved in their children’s education.

The secure app, which will go live in September 2017, will enable staff to upload videos, letters, information and e-safety guidance, as well as pupil’s work to allow parents to keep up to date with the latest school developments and track their children’s progress.

Beaumont Hill Academy emerging technology lead Clare Steed said: “We are all aware that parents ask, ‘what did you learn in school today?’ and the response is usually, ‘nothing’, or that letters sent home can generally lie in the bottom of a school bag for weeks.

“Therefore, we listened to our parent groups and realised that we needed to find a way to improve our external communications within school to ensure that information to parents was readily available in an easy to access, user friendly format.

“Our in-house senior IT technician Sarah Balmer created and developed the app, over the half term holidays, and we are currently in the process of training our staff to upload content and we will have have cohorts of parent workshops running to learn how to access the information.”

The new personalised app, which will be accessible to all parents of the school’s 267 students via their own unique four-digit log in, will allow teaching staff to upload visuals of students’ work and post content directly onto an on-line communications wall. This will enable a constant dialogue of information and any issues can then be accessed and dealt with immediately.

“Some of our students have communications as a key target and video sessions with our intervention team can also be uploaded to the app, so parents can see how the lessons are conducted in school and then replicate them at home with their children.” said Ms Steed.

“Students have also been involved in the initial trial by watching staff upload their work and then going on-line themselves to show their parents. This helps to link their understanding and also makes them excited to know that their parents will be able to see what they have done in school that day.”

The academy is also looking to increase the use of the new technology in the future to upload homework assignments, via the FROG on-line learning platform, which can be saved on completion and opened in school to help raise student attainment progress in all subject areas.