It's been said that education is the passport to a child's future, however with thousands of children heading back to school in Australia this month, new research reveals that 72% of parents have missed major school events and 61% aren't aware of what academic milestones their child should be achieving. In light of this new research, mum of two Sharlene Barnes, has announced the launch of the first free app, The Skool Loop App, designed to help principles and teachers better connect with parents to tackle this issue.
Research commissioned by The Skool Loop App, shows communication with teachers is one of the main issues facing parents, with 76% of parents saying they feel the overall level of communication between parents and the school community could be improved, and 64% of parents having to rely solely on their child to find out important school dates and events.
With many parents struggling to keep up to date, 39% of parents admitted that they had missed their child's sports day, 29% a parent teacher evening, 27% school concerts and performances and one in five parents having missed an important exam date. The main reasons being 32% of parents saying they were notified too late, 25% said they were not aware an event or exam was taking place, and 36% of Australian parents suspecting that their child had lied to get out of doing homework or to prevent getting in to trouble, by not sharing a school report or letter.
To help solve this issue, mum of two Sharlene Barnes, has designed The Skool Loop App that launches today in Australia to make sure parents don't miss an important school event again or news about their child's academic year.
"I was struggling to keep up to date with the school curriculum and missed a few important school events. Parents want to help their children succeed however trying to juggle parenthood with a job is hard with all the admin. I was surprised from the research how many teachers and parents wanted better communication and thought technology like an app would help, so I created The Skool Loop App", comments Sharlene Barnes, founder of The Skool Loop App.
With 83% of parents advising that they wanted to be more involved in their child's education and 56% saying that their busy schedules left them with little time, three quarters of parents (75%) advised that they wanted an app to help connect teachers and parents more seamlessly.
The Skool Loop App, is free for schools and provides parents with The school calendar: Providing up to date school information regarding all school events; Absentee messaging: a quick, simple and convenient way for a parent or caregiver to report absentees to the school; School contacts: One easy list of contacts to store in their phone; Permission slips: Parents and caregivers can electronically sign forms & permission slips directly from their school app, along with newsletters and instant messages.
Question: Were you surprised that 72% of parents are missing major school events and 61% aren't aware of what academic milestones their child should be achieving?
Sharlene Barnes: I wasn't surprised, how can busy parents always be up-to-date with this information? By encouraging their child's school to use more electronic communications would be my suggestion. The Skool Loop App for example is a free service for schools and parents and can really streamline communication between the two.
Question: How did you previously find out important school dates and events?
Sharlene Barnes: Traditionally communication between schools and school parents has been via paper based newsletters and trusting that the go between 'your child' will remember to pass it on. This is timely for schools and costly to use paper. The Skool Loop App saves schools and parents time and money.
Question: Can you share your tips for monitoring homework?
Sharlene Barnes: Ensure all distractions are turned off and ensure be there to help when needed, don't just leave them to it! Also if you are struggling to understand your child's homework, ask their teacher. They are happy to give parents more guidelines to help the success of your child's schooling.
Question: What is The Skool Loop app?
Sharlene Barnes: A fully functional free school app that provides a platform for schools to communicate with school parents via their smartphones. Parents can read school newsletters, notices and the school event calendars. Schools can also send out push notifications like reminders to 'don't forget it's swimming tomorrow', to parents being able to quickly notify the school if their child is off sick.
Question: What inspired you to create this app?
Sharlene Barnes: Initially my own personal frustrations as a working parent and not receiving important notices in a timely manner or receiving an event notice a month ahead of the School event - who can remember those notices! I thought there must be a better way, so started to work on the app. It's been hugely successful where we now have over 550 schools signed up.
Question: How does the app work?
Sharlene Barnes: The app works on both android and Apple platforms and is free to download for all school parents. The parents can use The Skool Loop App to read current school newsletters, notices send absentee alerts, view the school event calendar and sign school outing permission forms. The schools can send alerts and push notifications to the whole school community without relying on cell phone numbers (if the school parent has the app they get the school message)! The schools can streamline all of there community communications in one easy to use school app.
Question: What do you hope to achieve with the The Skool Loop app?
Sharlene Barnes: Our service is a totally free service to all Australian schools. We want to save schools time and money and save the planet from using all that paper! We hope to teach schools and school parents to use technology as a way forward in communications by using The Skool Loop App.
Interview by Brooke Hunter