The ‘School’s Out!’ app was launched in 2019 and is the brainchild of Kirklees Youth Alliance (KYA), which provides support to a wide network of youth organisations across Kirklees. At its heart, it is an easy to use application that helps underprivileged and deprived children get free access to local and community activities during holiday periods. Supported under the Department of Education's Holidays, Activities and Food program (HAF), those aged between 5 - 16 years of age receiving free school meals and now Ukrainian refugees are entitled to join the program.
KYA were looking for a manageable solution that would let users access their necessary information from a mobile device, and as such needed a user experience that was simple to use and intuitive primarily from these devices. However, they were also aware that a small number of their users would be accessing their resources from a desktop of laptop. Individual apps for each type of device or platform were ruled out as not cost-effective.
A web app with the following features:
- Search & booking capablities with map guidance
- Administration portal with reporting & analytics
- Event management and attendance tracking
- In-app messaging
- Multi-level administration
- Feedback & rating capability
The following technologies were chosen for the project:
- A front-end web app; built using ReactJS
- A back-end API; built using C#/.NET
Like many information and enrolment apps, School's Out! required a very user-friendly front-end that made finding and responding to information for parents a breeze. Importantly, the app's core value was delivered when using a mobile device - although it can be used just as easily across tablets and desktops.
Focused around a clearly designed and accessible front-end, a parent can quickly select, search and book a host of community activities for their children across the holiday period. Parents can also send feedback and rate events they have attended.
At the back-end, activity administrators and KYA staff are presented with a simple and guided session set-up process, allowing them to quickly create and release new sessions and activities to their users. Once created, administrators have full visibility and management of the activities created, the number of bookings, as well as the ability to message users directly (as a group or individually) should any changes to the event or agenda require it.
The success and impact of the 'School's Out!' app across Kirklees has been phenomenal. In 2021 alone, the platform hosted 85 organisations with more than 2,600 sessions. Approximately 12,000 children attended these activities and more than 28,000 nutritious meals were served. School's Out! is such a boon for us. Without it, we would have spent so much more time consulting with support organisations across the community. The app has made it both easy for us to administer any sessions with organisations, as well as made the process of administration an easy task. We are able to support and provide information and activities at scale to a much larger number of organisations whilst also enabling parents and children visibility of everything in one simple to use place.
We are always excited to work on projects that give something back to the community. The School's Out app is exactly that, providing a simple yet powerful way for parents to find and book activities for their loved ones.
Our team have worked closely with Kirklees Youth Alliance for the past three years, making improvements and providing iterations as more functionality has been needed.
Equally exciting, has been the apps' wider popularity, where we have been involved in its rollout to new councils across the UK, proving the value and vision that KYA saw and championed in the beginning.
To learn more about KYA and the Schools Out app, visit their website at kirkleesyouthalliance.org