ENNIS National School has pioneered a new method of instant communication with families by developing a new mobile app.

A survey conducted by the school last winter revealed that almost 90 per cent of families owned a smartphone or tablet. It was decided that an App would be a quick and efficient means of communication between school and home.

School principal Ray McInerney explained, “The benefit of the app for the school is that it puts important school information quite literally in the hands of parents and friends. On their hand-held device parents can read about upcoming school events, view school photos and videos, access our Twitter account, receive instant messages and much more. We can instantly advise them of unexpected changes to plans, e.g. the cancellation of an event or the delayed return of a school tour bus, by a push note which will pop up immediately on the screen of their phone or tablet, keeping parents informed on-the-go. Parents can also record a voice message for us in the app.”

For parents, it means that all notes from school are received rather than being buried in the bottom of schoolbags, and they are easily informed of changes to routines or plans, reducing frustration. The app provides a map with detailed directions to the school for visitors, and provides a link to the school website and email address.

The Ennis National School app was developed by Irish entrepreneur Patriona Briggs of mobileappdesignhq.com who specialises in creating apps for schools. The app can be downloaded free for Android, iPhone/ iPad / iPod from Google Play and the Appstore respectively by searching for Ennis National School (ENS). Alternatively one can bookmark the web app for Blackberry and other smartphone by scanning the QR code on the school website – www.ennisns.ie.

According to Fíona de Buitléir, who is responsible for PR in Ennis National School, “While we are very proud of our lively website, the app has a more interactive quality where people can fill out forms, send in messages and photos, register for events and so on. At present we are inviting past pupils to sign up for our Gathering Event on June 8 – a reunion of past pupils of the current school building which is 40 years old this year. They can do this easily via the interactive form on the app.”

It is thought Ennis National School is one of the first schools in Ireland to develop such an app.

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