British school children and their parents may soon be able to take advantage of new apps specially tailored for schools including one to report bullying and another for signing permission slips.
The plans to digitalise some forms of contact between pupils, their families and schools have been introduced by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan at the Conservative Party Conference this weekend.
"I think those are two really practical things which are actionable," Morgan said. "I very much hope this is something we could take forward, there could be some app designers who would be willing to take this on and it would be something that really would make a big difference for mums across the country."
Citing a report by Asda Mumdex, the Education Secretary said such apps would be particularly welcomed by busy parents, especially the one allowing them to sign permission slips for children to take part in school trips on their smartphones.
Morgan also indicated that teachers and parents should be given support to help keep children safe online but acknowledged such tasks may be particularly challenging as young children are frequently more skilled at working with digital technology than their parents.
"I haven't got to go very far in any conversation with my friends or any other working parents or any parents, actually, before I start talking about Internet safety, how we keep our young people safe particularly given – I know this from my six-year-old – they are pretty well more IT savvy than we are,” she said.
"If I put a parental control on, I don't think he would but I suspect he probably could if he wanted to, work out how to turn it off before I could.
"We have conversations about being online and what it means and messages and everything else. He is six, I have 15-year-old nieces, that's even more of an issue and we will be looking at how we empower our parents and teachers to tackle some of these issues."