North Walsham

‘appy days at North Walsham High School as smartphone app is launched

Just Regional
Dec 10, 2014 3 mins read

North Walsham High School has launched a smartphone app to help parents stay informed – and it has been completely developed by the school’s own IT team.

The app gives users access to news, photos, video and audio recordings, as well as the school’s social media feeds, its online calendar – and even tells parents what is on the menu for lunch for the next three weeks.

The professional-looking app is designed to work on smartphones and tablets, and is already available for Android users on the Google Play Store. It will be added to the Apple App Store shortly.

“More and more people are using their smartphones as the principal method of getting online, and so we decided that this was a good opportunity to build better communications with parents,” explained network manager Gary O’Connor, one of the team of three at the school who developed the app.

“We have always been ahead of the game when it comes to using online communications with parents – we were among the very first schools to allow parental access to our management information system, for example.

“We decided that an app was the best way of achieving this, as it gives users access to all of our various online information sources in one place. So, for example, even those who are not Facebook or Twitter users can access the school’s social media feeds via the app.”

Central to the development of the app was IT apprentice Cameron Pitts, who until July this year was a student at the school. He undertook the research to find out what the app should do, and how to make it happen, and helped code the app with Mr O’Connor and IT Team member Justin Jonas.

“Students at the school are learning the kind of coding needed to develop smartphone apps, and the fact that Cameron has been able to play such a part in making this happen is testament both to his own aptitude, and to the grounding in IT that he gained when he was a student here,” said Mr O’Connor.

Initial reactions have been very positive, and the team are already planning enhancements to the app, including proactive notifications of events such as parents’ evenings.

Deputy Head Ian Winter paid tribute to the school’s IT team for developing the app. “We are very fortunate to have an enthusiastic and talented IT team here at the school, and the fact that they have been able to create this app from scratch in just a few weeks is a real achievement. We hope that parents will download it and find it useful.”

Android users can download the app by searching ‘North Walsham High School’ in Google Play; iPhone and iPad users will be able to do the same at the Apple App Store within the next few days.

Demonstrating the new NWHS app are the school’s IT team: (from left) Gary O’Connor, Cameron Pitts and Justin Jonas

Demonstrating the new NWHS app are the school’s IT team: (from left) Gary O’Connor, Cameron Pitts and Justin Jonas

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