I’ve been the Director of the Edtech Incubator programme – which is the UK and Europe’s first education technology accelerator programme – for 2 years. Each year we engage and work with around 500 start-ups and high growth organisations in this space across the UK and increasingly around the world, through our Global Edtech Startup Awards programme.
I can say that Schoop and its product range is one of the best start-ups we have seen, and its potential market both in the UK and globally is very significant. As you know it was one of only 12 start-ups selected to pitch at number 10, but also having seen its development plans and growth strategy it is in an excellent place to scale and grow.
Here at Barry Island Primary School (BIPS) we have been using Schoop for a number of months. As a multi award winning school for developing links with the community, our school digital leaders strive to continue to strengthen these connections with all our key holders. We were introduced to Schoop by Chris Hamblin and after an initial consultation meeting, the school digital leaders and I could, very quickly see its fantastic potential.
The whole system and workings of Schoop is extremely easy to use and it has the ability to send newsletters, alerts, calendar dates and much more straight to the palm of the hand of everyone. We have seen a rapid increase of subscribers to our account and as a result the message is reaching a wider audience more and more each day. This is through the direct contact through the app (which is available on both formats) but also by word of mouth in the school yard. We have had a number of our Y5 & Y6 digital leaders showing and helping parents how to use Schoop when they are picking up their children from school. They have also run Schoop workshops to help upload Schoop to mobile devices due to the demand of people wanting to know more about it.
Here at BIPS we have a number of different social media avenues that we use to inform and contact parents. Schoop has had a major impact on our parental engagement, as they don’t need to continually check to see if there is any information and or receive information that is not suited or relevant to their needs. This is due to the fact that Schoop is tailored exactly to the user as they can decide the year groups and customized groups that they wish to be informed about. It also provides an alert system that notifies the user when important information is ready to be viewed, very similar to a text notification.
Schoop has a number of different useful and important resources that you can add to messages to inform parents. You can add images and embed movie clips to help the information to have more relevance and impact. Another great feature is that you can also link Twitter and Facebook accounts to your Schoop news to help delete repetition of work but maximize impact and parental engagement.
With Schoop’s effective and easy to use platform all schools can truly, inform, involve, engage and reach out safely to everyone with a touch of a button!
At St Francis we have seen a fantastic increase in both school communication and parental engagement since launching Schoop. Its ease of use and accessibility for staff members has enabled all teachers to participate in communicating key messages of all kinds to parents and carers.
From important dates to reminders, newsletters and weekly updates, as well as teasers for what’s coming up in class the next day, or how to follow up at home something the children have learnt in school, Schoop offers an immediate connection to our school community. The ability to ‘tweet this’ through adding a Twitter account has also proved invaluable as it has enabled Schoop to link directly to our website.
We introduced Schoop last September, and the ease of using Schoop and the ability to use the app on many different devices meant it became our immediate port of call when we needed to get messages home, engage with parents, and promote “at home” learning.
Over the following few months we began to send all documentation through Schoop, e.g. school trip letters, homework, weekly spellings etc. As a staff we were so thrilled with how quick and easy it was to use that it was decided to approach Schoop again and see if they could also build us a website with Schoop fully integrated.
To our delight we now have a website that would envy any professional organisation, and the amount of time saved to our teachers has been phenomenal. We confidently put information on in one place and know that that information, be it a school trip letter, urgent notice or even news directly from a school trip etc will appear on our website and on Schoop at the same time.
This makes communication between the home and community more reliable and immediate, giving no member of our school community an excuse to not know what is happening. The added bonus for us was that the people at Schoop recognised our need for simplicity and efficiency, they also took on board the wide variety of computer knowledge within our school. Even our staff with very limited IT expertise can easily upload videos, pictures, documents etc on the website and can easily send messages and engagement features through Schoop.
The difference to our school has been incredible. Staff, parents, pupils really ARE in the loop because of Schoop and the possibilities for the future are even greater. We fully intend to start blogging, accessing our Office 365 accounts and much more all through our website and Schoop. For us Schoop is our one stop shop for all our schools IT needs. The company are fully aware, patient and understanding of the hectic life of a school teacher and their one wish is to make life easier for us. What more could any school ask for? I would be happy to hear from any other school who wish to use Schoop and have any questions. From one IT coordinator to another – make your lives easier and get Schoop.”
I’m very impressed by this app, and I shall be using it to keep up to date with what schools in the constituency are up to. I know from my experience as the deputy head of a primary school in Brecon how difficult it can sometimes be to get messages to parents, especially when it comes to last minute cancellations, or bad weather conditions.
Even as a parent now when you sometimes received the crumpled up slip of paper, which has appeared two days after the event, forgotten in a coat pocket, you realise just how unreliable the current system sometimes can be! There is no doubt that it could be of huge benefit both to staff and to parents and pupils alike.
By being one of the first communities to take advantage of Schoop, Aberaeron is demonstrating its willingness to use every tool at its disposal to further the education of our children, and the schools are to be congratulated for that. I certainly hope that this example will be mirrored by other schools across the constituency, and I can guarantee I will be tuning in to hear what’s going on, so I can keep informed while I’m in London.
I am delighted that both schools in Aberaeron have signed up to using Schoop, and at present we are also the only schools in Ceredigion using the Schoop App. It is already proving an invaluable tool for parents, pupils and teachers, because it’s so easy to use. As a Governor of both schools, I am also finding the App extremely useful, just a tap on my phone screen brings up the information I need. I would recommend it to all schools, it’s about keeping pace with the needs of our parents and pupils and the way they now access information
We have a duty to communicate with all those who share parental responsibility and a much wider community – that means much more than just parents – every school will want Schoop
Parents are telling me ‘Schoop is all I need! I don’t need to go anywhere else to find out what’s going on’. And they’re right. The information parents need finds them instead of them having to go looking for it.
Aberaeron Comprehensive School values the significant support from parents, guardians and the community as a whole. It is with their help that the school is able to function and support the young people of this area. With this in mind, contact with parents is vitally important and ‘Schoop’ will allow us to keep parents and guardians ‘in the loop’.
Thus far, the school has been able to provide users of ‘Schoop’ with information about upcoming events such as parents’ evenings as well as reporting on the success of our students in their endeavours. The school hopes to develop the use of this platform as one of many ways of contacting parents and keeping the community informed of pupils’ work. The launch of the new ‘groups’ function will allow the school to send information to groups of students, parents, teachers or governors. It would be possible, for example to provide information to a year 9 class about an upcoming field trip or we could set a homework reminder for a particular assignment. ‘Schoop’ would also be one of the many ways which the school would use to relay any information about school closures to parents.
Schoop allows for prompt engagement between parents, guardians and the wider community – the school and pupils can only benefit from this.
Parent’s uptake has been fantastic. Schoop has been enthusiastically welcomed by our families and we have increased our level and frequency of communication to the parents. The ease of use is amazing once one becomes familiar with the system, which really does not take very long at all. If you are thinking of whether it might work for you don’t worry, it will.
Many people use their mobile devices as their primary means of accessing information and communicating, so we are using Schoop to improve the school’s communication with parents and stakeholders
During the comparatively short time we have been using ‘Schoop’ it has proved to be an invaluable asset, enabling us to make instant bilingual contact with all those who have registered. The majority of our parents have now signed up to it and they are very enthusiastic and complimentary about the service it provides. It also helps save paper and overcomes the problem of notes sent home with pupils being lost. It is a wonderful example of technological advances really benefiting everyone.
I wish more schools would use something like Schoop. No more surprise letters dug out of the bag at the last minute!