Schools app firm reports surge in new clients

Launched in 2015, Liverpool-based Parentapps has signed up more than 600 schools and is backed by former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy. Tony McDonough reports

Parentapps
From left, Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of Parentapps, Kevin Clayton, and investor Bill Currie

 

A Liverpool tech firm which is backed by former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy says it has seen big rise in clients during the COVID-19 crisis.

Parentapps helps schools communicate with parents via its bespoke multi-functional digital app. Founded in 2015, it has now has more than 600 schools signed up – with dozens of new clients secured since the start of the pandemic in March.

The app, PA Connect, is also used by more than 100,000 parents allowing them to access all the latest news from their children’s schools. Sales of Parentapps’ services, which also include building school websites, have been driven by the national lockdown and the increasing need for schools to deliver homework remotely.

It also keeps families up to date with the latest local authority advice and to survey parents’ needs as the pandemic has progressed. Parentapps founder and chief executive Kevin Clayton said: “It has been an incredibly tough and uncertain year for schools, their staff and parents.

“Since the pandemic started we have been inundated with enquiries and we have signed up another 60 schools to help them adapt as quickly as possible to the unfolding situation. As a result, we have also had to adapt, not only to demonstrate what we can offer via video conferencing, but also to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our users.

“In response to the huge requirement for home learning we have developed a homework hub, which allows teachers to log in and set work to give their pupils more structure and tailored activity. We have also been delivering weekly webinars over Zoom to help teachers understand and use the technology as quickly as possible.

“Schools have told us that more than 90% of their parents activate the app immediately, which makes the task of universal parental take up much easier, because it also shows who has not downloaded it.

Mr Clayton and his wife Hailey, who is sales director, created Parentapps in response to finding one too many crumpled letters in the schoolbags of their daughters. The company was boosted in 2018 by investment from Sir Terry Leahy, and Bill Currie, an award-winning retail analyst for Barclays and Charterhouse.

“It has been a remarkable two years and the investment from Sir Terry and Bill Currie means we have been able to improve user experience, add new features and become the market leader,” added Mr Clayton.

“We are now about to launch the latest enhancement to the app – a booking system for parents’ evenings and school clubs and a fully integrated payment system, allowing schools to be completely cashless.”

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