‘School’s Out!’ app developed in Huddersfield rolled out nationwide to help school pupils with parents on low incomes

An app developed in Huddersfield is benefitting thousands of school pupils in Kirklees with parents on low incomes, by providing them with access to meals and activities during school holidays.

Susan Greenwood, from Kirklees Youth Alliance, James Sarjantson from LCF Law and Pete Waugh from digital design specialist Torchbearer.
Susan Greenwood, from Kirklees Youth Alliance, James Sarjantson from LCF Law and Pete Waugh from digital design specialist Torchbearer.

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 and was developed by Huddersfield-based digital design specialist Torchbearer.

It is now being rolled out nationwide, following advice from Yorkshire law firm LCF Law.

James Sarjantson, commercial & digital partner at LCF Law, said: “Schools Out! has been hugely beneficial to KYA, Kirklees Council and the thousands of families using it.

“We’ve worked closely with Torchbearer and KYA to create a series of agreements that enable Torchbearer to resell, test and lead the installations, as well as providing relevant technical support to new customers, whilst also ensuring that KYA benefit from the intellectual property rights that they have on the product. It’s a unique partnership and we’re looking forward to watching it develop and grow as more local authorities and end users sign up to use the app.

“We work with many IT and technology businesses in the local area, but few of those projects have the genuine and deep social impact that this one will have.”

Parents using the app can book a wide range of sessions and activities during school holidays for their children that incorporate a nutritious meal, physical exercise and enrichment activities.

Last year alone, 85 organisations hosted more than 2,600 sessions that were attended by approximately 12,000 children and more than 28,000 nutritious meals were served.

Pete Waugh, technical director at Torchbearer said: “When KYA initially approached us with the idea for the Schools Out! app, we immediately knew it could be a big success.

“We’ve designed it with an easy-to-use booking system, so parents can book their children onto sessions quickly and easily.

“After the session, parents can send feedback and rate events.

“It’s also a centralised monitoring tool for the Council’s Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) team, negating the need for them to collate information from scores of provider organisations for the Department for Education (DfE).

“Although there are off the shelf products available, this is the only HAF-specific, web-app product, optimised for use on mobile phones.

“It is bespoke and can be adapted depending on specific requirements, which also includes rebranding it if a local authority wants to call it a specific name.

“We’re now looking forward to rolling it out to other forward-thinking organisations and seeing it benefit even more children and their families throughout the UK.”