Mobile Apps Cut Costs, Speed Communications For Holy Spirit Primary Catholic School Principal

Simon Duffy, Principal at Holy Spirit Primary Catholic School in Darwin, Australia, shares how having a mobile app has dramatically cut printing costs of newsletters and other printed material. Over the past three years, Duffy has successfully rallied his colleagues together and implemented a custom mobile app at three different schools he has worked at.

Through his latest success, Holy Spirit Primary Catholic School has established itself as a leader in the community and an exemplary example of a school striving for the greatest possible outcomes. Duffy notes that, “[Having a mobile app] gives us a point of difference from other schools here. Last year when I rolled it out at St. Mary’s we were the first to have a phone app. From there I showed it to my Principal colleagues and that led to several other Catholic schools adopting it, and we have had other non-government and government schools contacting us to ask how you go about getting a mobile app.”

Duffy and his schools have demonstrated an openness to change and technological advances that have bettered the experience for students, teachers, and parents alike. They have set themselves apart by demonstrating a commitment to excellence and working hard to make Holy Spirit Primary Catholic School a great place for children to learn. His extensive experience allows him to shed light on the subject few others could. Duffy was kind enough to share some of his insights and the things he has learned about mobile apps in schools over the past three years with us.

The initial reasons Duffy pushed for mobile app adoption by his school was because he “saw the potential of it to engage parents and to lift the school’s profile,” he remembers. He notes two ways in particular that the mobile apps have increased parent engagement: a higher rate of parents reading the school newsletter and increase in parent communication with the school. Duffy noticed how it was much more likely a parent was carrying a tablet, smart phone, or some other mobile device with them rather than paper copies of newsletters.

The statistics certainly back up his observation. According to a 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center, 58% of American adults have smart phones, a number that jumps to 81% in households with a total income over $75,000. Of those smart phone holding adults, 79% have their phones with them for 22 hours a day. This would explain the 97% open rate within five minutes of push notifications from apps. Smart phones aren’t the only kind of app-using mobile device either. Tablet computers are skyrocketing in popularity as well with 42% of American adults currently own some form of tablet.

Duffy also explained how helpful the app has been in keeping parents informed of urgent information. “[In] Victoria, if there was a bushfire notification, or in Darwin, if it is a cyclone alert,” his school can alert parents instantly for free through push notifications from the app. Everyday, non-emergency communication has also been vastly improved through assembly reminders and scheduling parent/teacher meetings.

One of the biggest benefits Duffy has noticed is the financial savings by not having to print so many newsletters. In his previous school paper copies of newsletter have gone down from 180 to just six, a savings he describes as “massive.” On top of that, if an emergency alert was sent out through SMS messages it cost the school $0.19 each. The cost of the app itself was offset by fundraising and sponsorships from local businesses who contributed funds in exchange for ad space.

Holy Spirit Primary Catholic School is now a technology leader in their community. Duffy describes his school’s mission as being “welcoming to all and making sure the students achieve their full potential spiritually, academically and socially… [We are] a caring place for them to learn and work and to understand the Catholic faith.” With ample support from the Parents and Friends Committee who ran the fundraiser as well as the school leaders who welcomed this change, the adoption of a mobile app at Holy Spirit Primary Catholic School couldn’t have gone smoother. According to Duffy, “I met no resistance. It was something [the school leadership] could see the value of and certainly something they were pushing for.”

With as estimate of 80% of parents having downloaded the school’s app, it has clearly been a huge success and an example to many other schools looking to do the same. Duffy is quick to highlight the greatest benefit of having a mobile app for his schools: “I would say the dissemination of information and being able to get the information to parents in real time.” When everyone is informed, all parties can make better decisions. Schools run more efficiently, parents become more engaged, and students have more success.

For information about Holy Spirit Primary Catholic School visit

Holy Spirit Primary Catholics Schools app was designed by, Media Authority Marketing’s Australian Partner.  For more information about how to get a mobile app for your school, contact Media Authority Marketing, email

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