Problems facing parents and carers
School applications are stressful for parents and guardians as they want to make sure their child goes to a school that is right for them. Identifying which schools their child is most likely to succeed at can be daunting. Many parents require the assistance of the local authority admissions teams due to confusing forms, full of technical wording.
Once an application has been made, knowing its progress and whether all the information is correct can be stressful, especially if there is not an easy way for it to be found. The appeals process can also be difficult for many parents or carers, knowing when they can/cannot appeal and having to give the same information again to match up the child with their original application.
Problems facing local authorities
The large numbers of applications made across the country puts a huge administrative burden on local authorities. Not only do you need to process each application and make sure each child is placed in the right school, there are also queries from parents about the application process.
Getting the admissions system right is vital for every child, so making sure the process runs smoothly can relieve a large amount of stress for your admissions teams, parents and carers.
How software can help
Admissions software can help to simplify processes. Many issues faced by parents can be easily resolved, meaning you have more time to focus on making sure that each child is in the right place for them.
By showing an interactive map of schools in the area, parents can see schools near their address and information about each of them. They are also able to check the progress of an application and view and respond to offers when published, meaning they do not need to get in touch with the admissions team each time.
Admissions software also keeps information, so when a parent is later applying for a secondary school place or applying for a place for a younger sibling, they do not have to re-input their details. Simplified forms and responsive web access means that parents can access the software on any device and easily understand the applications process.
Other features mean that the same portal can be used for free school meals applications, two-year-old nursery funding, entrance tests, children’s centres. One simple portal makes the process simpler for parents and the council.
Ease of administration
Admissions software helps to reduce the administrative burden on local authorities. Online applications are input via a simple import wizard so there is no need to type up paper forms. The auto-allocation routine allocates places based on criteria as published by the schools and council. The embedded GIS calculates distance automatically either in a straight line of safest walking distance, also determining nearest schools and catchment areas. ‘Unplaced’ children are also automatically identified and can be allocated a place at their nearest available school.
The built-in mail merge streamlines letter production, easing the administration of letter templates and simplifies access to letters produced.
When using software to run admissions processes, schools can access the applications made to their school, reducing the deamnd on your admissions team. All schools can view the list of offers made and download ATF/CTF files for themselves. They are also able to see key statistics about the applications received, creating a more transparent process and removing the need for you to spend time producing statistics and distributing them.
Own admissions authority schools are also able to view and rank applications online according to their oversubscription criteria, removing the need for you to send lists and rekey rankings manually.
Making sure that each child receives only one offer with multiple admissions processes working alongside each other can be difficult. By using software, teams can work with easy to use wizards, backed up by robust record matching and validation. This creates easy to understand messages ensuring the integrity of the data. All co-ordination files are safely imported and exported using proven, trusted facilities, making sure no child is left out.
Appeals and in-year transfers
By using admissions software, appeals can be submitted online. Parents and carers can log-in to the portal after offer information is released, making the process simpler and removing the need for them to re-key their details and school choice(s). For local authorities, having a built-in appeals management system avoids the need to re-key admissions data into other systems. Intuitive screens also collate key admissions data to support the production of appeal packs.
Keeping sight of every child
Making sure that children are not lost within a system and that every child gets placed in the most suitable school is very important to the admissions process. By using software, you can use query and reporting features to get quick and easy access to your data.
Servelec’s Synergy software offers all these features, relieving the stress of applications from both parents and guardians and local authorities.
Over seven million children have been placed using Synergy since it was launched over 20 years ago and it is now used in 56 local authorities in England, growing from 38 in 2014. Synergy is used in 24 of the 38 (63%) authorities who participate pan-London coordinated admissions scheme, growing from just 11 in 2014 (29%), demonstrating the confidence and trust placed by our customers.
Synergy can reduce your administrative burden and remove duplication, giving you more time to focus on improving outcomes. It also helps you make significant financial savings with the typical return on investment being just 12 months.