Parental input plays an enormously important role in how well children do in school. Plenty of research from the last 15 years shows conclusively that when parents are engaged with their child’s education, achievement increases. But research has also shown that teachers find it hard to engage with parents and ineffective communication methods between home and school are the most significant barriers. So, for some parents, the infrequency of school communication means they aren’t provided with enough information to successfully support their children.

Empowering teachers and parents with mobile apps can bring huge benefits. If a parent could receive instant alerts through their smartphone they would feel more engaged with their child’s life at school. Along with more comprehensive messages such as newsletters and surveys, mobile technology can provide a direct link from school to home.

Developed by former teachers, ParentHub is an innovative app designed to strengthen the support network around each young person, with massive potential to increase the flow of communication between parents and schools.

One thing ParentHub does extremely well is address the problem of mass-broadcasting information from a central administrative account. With this app, ParentHub allows teachers to engage in a two-way conversation with parents. This app is all about staying in touch, in real-time, by allowing parents to see whether their children get to school safely, check timetables and find out which subjects they are doing well in.

ParentHub is full of in-app features that address and bring together all administrative aspects of their children’s lives, and equip parents with the information they need. Using a fabulous messaging system, teachers can begin a conversation with one individual parent, get in touch with parents from a whole class, or broadcast to the entire school. This is reassuringly supported with translated in-app messaging for parents with EAL. It opens communication right up and is a breeze to use. You can even see when a parent has received and read their message, and when they responded.

The Student Insight feature tells parents about their child’s progress, and they can receive attainment information directly from SIMS. They can see a timetable and chart progress through each area of a subject’s curriculum. The ePost feature effectively brings an end to the printed newsletter, potentially saving your school a packet and freeing up time which could be better used for other things.

There is a very important attendance feature so you can let parents know if their child has not arrived at school so any unauthorised absences are soon flagged up. The flip-side of this also means that parents can use the app to inform the school of any forthcoming absences as well.

Any worksheets and web content can be sent electronically which is a great idea, and ParentHub has plenty in the pipeline including a homework feature that enables parents know when homework is set and can track any tasks.

All parents need access to the school diary, so the School Calendar feature is perfect for parents to plan around what’s happening and it allows schools to send reminders about important events. While you may not always want to hear what parents have to say, the imminent Parent Voice feature will allow schools to get their views by making, circulating and analysing short questionnaires and surveys. Perhaps a Parents Evening feature would be great to include so bookings could be managed easier than more traditional means.

It makes a lot of sense to buy into this app because you can replace your text message service and consolidate all your communication with parents in one place. ParentHub has considerable potential beyond school too. I could see this being used for clubs and activity groups that operate in the community to alert parents regarding events, news, timetable changes, and all important progress. It’s an app that should go far and that deserves wide usage.

Most teachers will know that building meaningful relationships with parents takes time and effort and is far from simple. Communication needs to be ongoing and so what better by to achieve that by using a well-thought-out app like ParentHub? It’s efficient, convenient and works beautifully. I want it for my school.

Our Verdict

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Overall, what’s not to like? ParentHub is slick, it deals with what is important and serves a real purpose by making communication frequent and meaningful throughout the year. From a purse-strings perspective pricing looks good for the in-app messaging and basic SIMS service, as it is free for a year and then £300 per year after. Any additional features you have to enquire about.

Pie Corbett