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Applying for a school place can be a stressful time for parents and children, as well as for the local authorities and schools who need to process applications and share a huge volume of data. Parents must submit their application by the deadline, so it is only fair that they receive their decision promptly on national offer day. We understand the importance of getting this right, first time, every year. It’s what we’ve been doing for over thirty years.
Our Capita One admissions software successfully processed just over 538,000 primary and secondary applications in England in 2022 – that’s over 45% of all applications made in England. Our decision emails were sent to parents just as midnight struck on admissions day – giving them the timely information they needed.
We make a stressful process much easier
Our admissions software provides over 80 local authorities in England, Northern Ireland and Wales with the essential tried, tested and trusted tools they need to process school admissions and transfers. This gives them peace of mind that they are meeting their statutory compliance obligations and have a secure solution in place to ensure offer days run seamlessly for children and families. 94% of school place applications were submitted by parents online in 2022, so it’s crucial that the system works 100% of the time.
It’s not just the secondary and primary school admissions days that are important though. Local authorities and schools need to share data throughout the academic year as pupils move to the area or switch schools. Previously, this involved a time-consuming process as schools used spreadsheets to record their school places and pupil transfers. Technology has transformed this process by eradicating the need for spreadsheets and enabling schools to self-serve in real-time. This means there is no duplication of effort or error and has helped to save the weeks of work that was involved in sending, receiving, reconciling and re-keying excel emails.
To ensure that local authorities can access real-time data, we work hard to ensure our technology solution is accessible 24/7. This accessibility also helps to provide a better solution to parents, as they are in full control of their child’s school application and can access and update it at any time before the submission deadline.
Never underestimate the power of trusted partnerships
Parents often invest a lot emotionally when choosing the most suitable school for their child, so at such a highly charged stage, it’s vital that all the partners and agencies involved collaborate to create better outcomes for families. We are very fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with the Department of Education and have worked together over the years to ensure statutory compliance is always met in the required timescales and updates that have ensured our admissions software continues to meet their needs, so they can focus on providing advice and support to families.
This partnership approach led to the introduction of our fully integrated portals that provide self-service capability to local authorities, citizens and schools. This has improved transparency and collaboration by enabling real-time data to be shared on any digital device. We can see the impact that this has had by looking at the data from the lead up to the most recent secondary schools admission national offer day on 1 March 2023.
- Between 28th February and 1st March: 198,592 users logged-in and 84.31% of those used a mobile device.
- Secondary school admissions national offer day – 1st March 2023: 22,000 users logged in at midnight and 41,362 at 7am.
With so many people logging-in at the same time, we’ve continued to develop our solution to ensure it has the surge capacity to manage demand - our solution was available 100% of the time during this pivotal admissions period.
Reducing the administrative burden
Staff at local authorities and schools are constantly being asked to do more with less, so as a trusted partner we focus on doing everything we can to free up their valuable time so they can support their school communities. Our solution reduces administrative burdens by:
- Significantly reducing email and telephone enquiries through the self-service capability.
- Enabling schools to target late applications for vulnerable families in real-time, which saves hours of work for local authorities.
- Ensuring schools can run reports and download files in real-time.
- Eradicating the need to share or export data in excel spreadsheets.
From making it easier for local authorities and schools to meet their statutory requirements, to ensuring parents receive their school decision promptly and seamlessly, we are proud that we provide a consistently high standard of service.
We look forward to supporting our local authorities, their citizens and schools during the next national primary offer day on Monday 17 April 2023.