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Firefly Learning unveils new digital platform to strengthen parent engagement and communication

Simon Hay, Firefly CEO

Today, @FireflyTeam launches its new Parent Portal, a new platform for schools that gives parents a single point of access to find out about their child’s academic progress, extra-curricular activities and pastoral experience.

Firefly’s Parent Portal is designed to replace the fragmented patchwork of parent-school systems with a centralised hub which gives parents full visibility of their child’s school life, including homework status, real-time progress reports, bookings for face to face and virtual parents’ evenings, payments and school communications.

Simon Hay, Firefly CEO and co-founder, explained the motivation for developing the Parent Portal:

“The parent-school relationship can be one of the most difficult for schools and this has been exacerbated by covid-19. In many schools there are lots of separate, complicated systems to manage that don’t talk to each other. For parents this can mean multiple logins, lost passwords and a digital experience that can feel out of date with modern life.

“Improving this experience was our inspiration for our Parent Portal.  We want to simplify engagement and bring teachers, parents and students together in one, secure, joined-up space.”

The platform integrates with Firefly’s learning management system, which supports learning in the classroom and beyond. The Parent Portal is accessible via browser and apps and uniquely integrates with Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom.

Jason Wilmot, Senior Director Business Strategy at Microsoft K12 Education, welcomed the development of Firefly’s Parent Portal and said:

“At this time it is essential that technology companies come together to support schools and we are delighted that schools using Microsoft Teams will now be able to integrate so seamlessly with Firefly’s Parent Portal. During lockdown, parents gained a valuable insight into their children’s learning and experience of school, and a modern platform like this Parent Portal makes it easy for schools to continue to engage parents and help them to remain involved, and informed, in their children’s learning.” 

Firefly developed the portal with input from school leaders, who stressed the need for a technology platform that would improve the visibility of information online and improve two-way communication between school, parent and pupil.

“We needed a platform that was engaging for pupils, teachers and parents whilst being simple to use but also flexible enough to allow our teachers to be creative with their content” said Ian Thorpe, headteacher at Downsend School in Surrey. “During the first Covid lockdown in March, we were able to integrate our Microsoft Teams meetings into our Firefly pages to give us the next best teaching experience, in the absence of real-life lessons in school. With Firefly, we have also been able to give parents more clarity on their child’s learning, enabling them to see feedback from teachers.”

A key advantage of Firefly’s Parent Portal is that it provides parents with real-time feedback on their child’s progress. Unlike the traditional school report, which gives parents retrospective information, Firefly’s platform provides continuous information. This means parents can support their children at the time when they need it.

“Parents are a school’s best ambassadors – if they like their experience with the school then they will recommend it to prospective parents,” Simon Hay added. “By giving their parents a modern, connected digital experience schools can strengthen their reputations.”

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