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Is Your School ready for GDPR?

Appiercom and Optima Training are delighted to offer your School the chance to win a customised “GDPR for Schools” training course worth €525.00!!

To Win this for your school – please Like both our Page and Optima Training & Consulting and Tag our post with any 3 of the following:
Schools, Parents Associations, Teaching Staff & Parents

All of the Schools & People tagged will be entered into the draw, which takes place on Wednesday 31st May.
The Winner can then nominate their chosen School. Thanks and Best of Luck!

For more information on GDPR for schools, check out our blog, here


GDPR is just for large corporates? Right??


GDPR impacts anyone who holds, controls or processes personal data and that includes Schools.

In fact – because Schools retain the personal data of children (including those under the age of digital consent) and often hold Sensitive Medical data– GDPR is particularly relevant to them.

Should schools be concerned? 

Absolutely – there is a feeling within some circles that if we ignore GDPR for long enough – it will disappear, or that it is the new Y2K problem – but in both instances, that is not the case.

If your school’s preparation is not yet underway – time is ticking in advance of the May 25 deadline for compliance.

What are the key questions for my School?

·       What is GDPR: GDPR significantly changes data protection law in Europe, strengthening the rights of individuals and increasing the obligations and responsibilities for Schools in how they collect, use and protect personal data.

·       Why should we be concerned: GDPR protects the personal data of everyone – which includes both School Staff, Parents & Most importantly – School Children – much of the focus has been on the penalties for non-compliance but the real advancement here is the rights each of us have with regard to our personal data.

·       Who needs to comply: Anyone who holds or processes personal data – this means both the School & 3rd party processors and contractors who might come into the school environment must be GDPR Compliant.

·       What type of areas with schools might need to be reviewed? Lots actually – for example – How the School obtained the data, how they store and distribute personal data, how they manage sensitive data such as Children’s Data or Medical Data, the security of their data systems (Printers/IT Systems/CCTV/Data Disposal etc)

·       From a practical point of view – what are the essential steps Schools will need to take to become compliant:

  • Awareness – Schools should familiarise themselves with GDPR, the requirements, impacts, responsibilities and obligations (Optima Training provide training courses customised for Schools & Education)
  • Accountability – The School should complete a Data Audit – focussing on the Data they retain, indicating how they obtained it, for what purpose is it retained, how long they need it for and how secure they store it
  •  Communication – How does the School inform people of how they obtain data – what media do they use to communicate their Privacy Policies & Notices
  • Personal Privacy Rights – Does the school comply with the rights that exist for their personal data – Accuracy, Fairly Obtained, Duration of Storage, The Non Transfer of data to 3rd parties etc
  • Data Access Requests – The School must put systems in place for providing access to the data subject of their own data – within 30 days and typically free of charge
  • Reviewing the Legal Basis for Holding Data – What data is collected and for what specific legitimate purpose?
  • Consent: Does the School have clear, unambiguous, documented and opt-in consent from the data subject for the personal data which it collects or communicates?
  • Children’s Data – The school must pay particular heed to the data they hold on children (and Medical date – which is considered “Sensitive”
  • Risk Assessments – The School should implement systems for Data Privacy Impact Assessments & Privacy by Design & Default to ensure ongoing compliance
  • Data Breaches – The School should develop a Data Breach Procedure and implement the procedure if and when a data breach occurs – notifying the Data Protection Commissioner within 3 days
  • Point of Contact – The school should nominate a point of contact who will assist and advise staff and families with GDPR, who will monitor compliance who might be a Data Protection Officer

How do I find out more?

Our training partners, Optima Training, are running GDPR Preparation Courses, click here for more information. 

For more information on Appierschool School to Parent apps, visit our full site here.

Content courtesy of Optima Training and Consulting

Scoil Eoin Balloonagh is a day primary school situated in southern Ireland. The school dates back to 1854 and has 682 students from 521 households. The school staff includes a principal, deputy principal, 24 mainstream class teachers and twelve teachers for pupils with special educational needs.

Adopting the AppierSchool app has led to a significant reduction in costs relating to parent communications, measurable time saved on the preparation of correspondence, and a visible reduction in paperwork.

The Need: A cost effective and reliable communication channel

The initial attraction of the AppierSchool app to Scoil Eoin was the potential for savings in communication costs. For a school of 682 students from 521 households, the cost of text messages and postage can amount to a considerable sum over the course of a school year. Alternative channels of communication are often used, but these can have drawbacks of their own.

  • Post: At €1 per stamp the costs can be prohibitive and it takes a number of days to deliver.
  • SMS Text messaging: Costs do vary, but an average of €0.04 per text could equate to a considerable amount if it is used often.
  • Notes given to children to deliver home: Frequently lost or mislaid.
  • One headmaster stated that he believes it takes the average note 2 days to make it home to their parents.
  • Social Media: The lack of privacy can be an issue for some parents and schools. In addition, there have been a number of instances where comments by parents to posts by the school have caused offence.

For someone who usually dislikes change it’s great to have to adopt a new initiative that actually saves me time

The solution: A safe, secure and affordable App

By partnering with Appierschool, Scoil Eoin have been provided with a simple to use, dedicated communications channel that surpassed the school’s initial requirement.


  • A dedicated communication channel between the school and parents.
  • Cost effective in comparison to traditional channels, such as post and text messaging, the app is significantly cheaper over time.
  • Provides real time communication.
  • Reliability. Unlike letters delivered by children, the app delivers messages direct to parents. This can include homework, and notification of events within a calendar.

The Budget: Net Gain For Schools 

  • There are 682 students in the school from 521 households.
  • There are 4 letters posted home in a month. A stamp costs €1, an envelope is approx. €0.03 and a sheet of paper is approx. €0.01.
  • The cost of a text message is €0.04 and 4 messages are sent in a month.
  • There are 4 notes sent home each week at a cost of €0.01 per family (sheet of paper).
  • There are 183 days in the school year which is equal to 9 months.

Based on these assumptions the annual cost of contacting parents will be €6,877.20. This does not include the cost of printing, the time spent on preparation of the material or the additional costs incurred in text messages that go over the allowable work count.

The cost of the app is a once off €400 to cover construction and €600 per annum in maintenance and fees (inc. VAT). This is a net saving of €6,877.20 in year one and €6,277.20 every year thereafter.

Additional Benefits: 

Once the app went live the administration staff of Scoil Eoin Balloonagh discovered additional benefits which included

  • Reduction in cost.
  • Fewer phone call queries into the office.
  • Significant time saved in preparation of materials sent out. Less photocopying, less folding paper, less stuffing envelopes.
  • Scoil Eoin used to buy 6 boxes (30 Reams) of paper per month for administration. They have not needed to purchased paper in the last month.
  • Administration staff have found the app a great way of keeping a record of communication gone home to parents/guardians.



1. Quick & Easy Access to school information.

Parents are not visiting school websites as often as they once did. The majority of our schools, that study their website analytics, have found that the number of visits are dropping and that the information they publish on it is not reaching its intended audience. It seems that most of school website activity is generated by parents looking for a school for their child. Creating a dedicated communication channel for parents in the form of an app works. One tap on the School App Icon on the Home screen of their devices and they have the information that they need. The app is available on all devices including computers/laptops, so everybody is included. Simple for parents to install.

2. Secure, One Way Communication.

An app gives the school a secure one-way channel to parents without creating a forum. Depending on social media alone for parent/student communication has been problematic for many of our client schools.

3. Parental Engagement.

AppierSchool makes it easy for teachers to showcase the work they are doing with their children. This has the effect of encouraging more parental engagement. Parents seem to have less and less downtime these days and having quick access to this information during their few moments of free time is important. Parents will always have their device with them.

4.Reducing Costs.

Implementing a school app will significantly reduce texting and printing costs. We are happy to provide references if you would like to discuss this with some of our schools.

5. Simple to use.

Our content management system is really easy to use. It is designed so that the entire team can access the section that is relevant to them. We have teachers of all competency levels happily updating their school app every day.

6.Generate funds.

Help local businesses promote their services to your school community and generate income for the school. Examples of businesses that are interested in promoting to your school community are “After school clubs”, “Plumbers”, Electricians”, “Painters”, “Fitness Instructors” amongst others. AppierSchool offer a service where we do all the work and share the annual revenue with the school. This can cover the cost of the app for the school and often generates additional income for the school. Remember this is not sponsorship. This is helping local business to promote to your school community and therefore not interfering with your sponsorship initiatives.


The Limerick County Board have retained Appiercom to design and develop an app for Limerick GAA.  The app will contain Live News, Fixtures & Results, Photo & Video Gallery, Squad Profiles, Coaching Resource and much more…..

The App will give fans all the latest information they need as well as the ability to know who else is at a match and send a private message to them.  The app will use the latest in beacon technology to give supporters live information at games and other events.

The figures from the ten year Growing Up in Ireland study, which has been published by the ESRI, show that despite many improvements in Irish society more support needs to be provided to help children most in need.

In the past century, Ireland has made strides in how it thinks about and treats children, according to Prof James Williams of the ESRI.

“Despite the changing nature of inequality over time, children’s future prospects continue to be shaped by family circumstances. Measures existing to help children flourish must be cognisant of the powerful impact of the home environment on child wellbeing and development.”

The study found a consistent pattern of disadvantage for children living in one-parent families, mostly due to poorer socio-economic circumstances.

“Even accounting for differences in family characteristics such as income, maternal education, parent-child conflict and maternal depression, children in one-parent families are at a significant disadvantage in terms of their risk of experiencing socio-emotional and behavioural difficulties.”

Although mothers with a migrant background tend to be more highly educated than Irish mothers, especially those from Western Europe and Asia, migrant children’s reading and math scores are lower.

This is especially so for eastern European children, in the case of reading, and African children, for maths.

It also found that the attitudes, dispositions and language skills of five-year-olds differ according to social class background, mother’s education and household income.

Low birth weights of less than 2,500 grams were found to have a possible lasting impact on a child’s growth and development.

Children with low birth weights are five times more likely not to meet developmental thresholds for communications and gross motor skills at nine months and even have lower scores on reading and maths tests at nine years of age.

The study also found that 7.9pc of children from lowest income families were found to be low birth weight, compared to 4.6pc of those from the highest income families.

Overweight and obesity are strongly linked to social disadvantage, around 25pc of three-year-olds in Ireland are overweight or obese.

The children of unskilled manual parents are 65pc more likely to be obese at three years of age than children of professional parents.

Discussing if the words in the 1916 Proclamation of Independence, resolving to “cherish all of the children of the nation equally” have been realised 100 years on from the Easter Rising, Williams said:

“While we have undoubtedly made huge strides in terms of how we think about and treat children in Ireland, the book presents evidence concluding that we have not lived up to the Proclamation’s resolution to cherish all of the children of the nation equally.”

One of the common arguments for using a ‘Native App’ is that they offer a ‘Push Notification’ feature. A ‘Push Notification’ is a message that you send to all the app users that pops up on their screen relaying the message in real time to the user. Its key selling point is that it is free and replaces SMS Texting thereby reducing/removing all SMS texting costs. To all intents and purposes, it sounds like an ideal solution.

However, having initially adopted Push Notifications ourselves, we discovered, that they are not all they promised to be. We found that our school clients continued to rely on SMS Texts for critical messaging to parents because they found that Push Notifications proved to be unreliable. The conclusion schools have been sharing with us is that SMS Texts, despite their cost, are 100% reliable and the most effective way to communicate with parents. For schools, guaranteeing their messages reach every parent 100% of the time is critical. The 80% success rate of push notifications is just not good enough for schools. They need to be able to contact parents on all mobile devices – not just smart ones.


So why have Push Notifications proved to be so unreliable for schools?

Push Notifications rely on a number of conditions in order to work successfully.

1. The app user (parent) needs to have turned on the push notification settings on their device.

2. The user must be online in order to receive the push notification at the time it is sent

3. Push Notifications are not supported on all types of mobile devices


Our solution:

Appierschool has concluded that the best solution to this problem is to find a way to combine SMS Texting in parallel to the App itself.

· We offer an SMS Texting Bundle at a significant discount to most competing text bundles, to be used for Critical Messaging only

· All other messages, will also be posted on the message board within the app, to be read at the parents’ leisure

This will have the effect of ensuring that 100% of parents will have access to all messages 100% of the time, and that no Critically Urgent Messages will go astray.

Q: So Griselda, who are AppierCom?

A: We are a limerick based communications & technology company who develop mobile apps for business enterprises and schools.


Q: Who would use an app like this and why?

A: Our apps are useful for a range of enterprises, institutions and clubs, to help them nurture a dedicated customer or member community network around their business or brand, and ensure real-time dynamic engagement with them. It really raises a company’s customer engagement if a direct channel to the business is sitting on a customer’s phone or tablet.


Q: Surely a website does the trick? Why do you even need an app?

Research into mobile phones has shown that only 1 in 5 people will go to the effort to find and open a website on their phone, and the majority would rather choose to use an app function instead. These days we all live on our phones and do everything on them. Apps have been designed to make the user experience so much simpler and easier than on a website. I don’t know about you, but I sit at my desk at my computer and check my work emails on my phone. It sounds crazy I know, but you’d be amazed how many people do it.


Q: What kind of business are using the app?

A: If we focus on the local Limerick Community alone:

We are very popular with Business Networking Groups: Limerick Chamber of Commerce are using our app for their members, and we are currently developing one of the Mid West Mentoring business networking group

An app is ideal for Sports & Social Clubs: Limerick GAA have our app to communicate all their news and activities to the team and their wide group of supporters. Vistakon, based here in Raheen, have also just launched an app for their Sports & Social Club.

Higher Level Education & Business Courses: Limerick Institution of Technology are using our app to communicate with their students, and we’ve developed an app for Ingenium’s Smart Choice Leadership Course at the University of Limerick.

The app is great for the Arts too: We are developing an app for the Lime Tree Theatre, so all their patrons can easily find out what shows are on and book from their phones. We can also make apps for concert halls, museums and galleries.

On a national scale, Unions are another big area for us: We are currently developing apps for the PD Forra and Mandate Unions. They have huge numbers of members, and they need to be able to send messages to all of them, provide important support, highlight key events, and offer benefits to the members. SMS texting their thousands of members is very costly. By using an app to deliver important messages, the unions can save a great deal of money.

We also build apps for Charities, Racecourses, Museums, and anyone who wants to nurture a dedicated group of followers and provide them with instant, up to date convenient access to their events, products, etc., from the comfort of their smartphone or tablet.


Q: It’s that time of year again when everyone is heading back to school. You guys also specialise in producing apps for schools?

A: Yes this is a really big area for us – producing Apps for Schools. We have an app product called Appierschool which is a one way school to parent communication app. The new school year is about to start and we are really encouraged that Schools have begun to recognise that having an app to communicate directly to parents will make a huge difference for them, particularly in terms of costs.


Q: Schools spend a fortune on sending text messages to parents and posting letters to them, and the amount of paper they burn through on notes to parents is massive. Isn’t that right?

A: Yes, and using a school-to-parent communication app can change all that, as well as guarantee that all the parents get the messages when they are sent out to them.


Q: How many parents do you know who’ve missed that important note left in their child’s rucksack, or overlooked an important email about a match or a parent teacher meeting because their inbox is overloaded?

A: That’s exactly right. For parents, being able to check their school’s calendar, receive real time messages, and be informed about their child’s daily homework, all on an app on their mobile phone, just makes life that little bit simpler.


Q: Does the app let parents see a child’s homework?

A: Yes. Teachers can post the home work on the app. If parent’s have an app, then no kids will get away with telling their parents they have no homework, when they’ve been set loads, anymore!


Q: Which schools have you made an app for already?

A: We’ve been making apps for primary and secondary schools all over Ireland. In our Munster region a couple of examples would be Knockea, Donoughmore and Monaleen Primary Schools here in Limerick, and CBS Ennis and Deerpark CBS secondary schools in Co.Clare and Cork.

We have produced apps in Irish for gealscoils such as Peig Seyers in Cork and Bhradain Feasa in Meath, and we are also working with schools who belong to various education groups such as the Educate Together Schools Network and the Edmund Rice Schools Trust.


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