Suffolk: Student’s new app could help parents stay informed about school closures

Thomas O'Brien, from Woodbridge School, won top prize after designing the school closure apps during

Thomas O'Brien, from Woodbridge School, won top prize after designing the school closure apps during a development day at Suffolk County Council - Credit: Archant

PARENTS across Suffolk have been able to find out quickly whether their child’s school is closed thanks to a new mobile phone app designed by a talented teenager.

Woodbridge School pupil Thomas O’Brien created the software as part of an app design day held by Suffolk County Council last summer.

The inclement weather of the past few days has offered people the first opportunity to make use of the easy-to-use app, which can be found on the Suffolk County Council homepage.

The simple but effective system Thomas came up with shows schools listed alphabetically and highlighted green if they are open and red if they have closed for the day.

The app proved a winner on the day and the youngster was subsequently offered a contract with global IT company Jadu.

He said: “Before the app development day, I’d only had a bit of computer programming experience. But when it came to it, I took a really simple idea and tried to make something that would make life easier for lots of people.”

Jane Storey, the council’s cabinet member responsible for finance and IT, said: “This is all about making it easier for people to get what they need from the council and ensuring that contact doesn’t interfere in their already busy lives.

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“It is important that the county council uses a range of ways to communicate with the residents of Suffolk. Using social media allows us to reach a large number of people quickly and effectively and with the recent wintry weather we are expecting to see more people starting to use our school closures mobile app.”

ADAPTED A SIMPLE IDEA: Right, award-winning pupil Thomas O’Brien

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