Enabling Digital Admissions with the Education Authority
The Education Authority (EA) helps with all aspects of a child’s journey through education in Northern Ireland – admission to pre-school, getting transport to school, changing schools, moving through primary and post-primary school.
The Education Authority is responsible for ensuring that efficient and effective primary and secondary education services are available to meet the needs of children and young people, and support for the provision of efficient and effective youth services.
Supporting Every Child in Northern Ireland
The Education Authority wants to support every child in Northern Ireland being placed in an appropriate school for their educational needs, through a first-class, user-focused digital admissions service.
To achieve this digital vision, the Education Authority must focus on:
Excellent customer service
Creating a “tell us once” facility that shortens application times, enables secure communications, and provides digital assistance to parents/guardians using the service.
Moving post-primary school applications from paper to online; reducing paper volumes, integrating with key systems such as transport and free school meals and enabling continuous improvement of the digital service.
Trusted, informative and secure data
Providing a high-quality source of data that will improve MI and reporting, adhere to information assurance & data protection guidelines and comply with guidance and legislation.
Embarking on a Partnership
The Education Authority and Version 1 embarked on a partnership to deliver its digital vision. It kicked off with interactive ideation workshops to discuss problem areas within the post-primary school admissions process. From there, the Education Authority and Version 1 worked together to find out how these problems could be solved digitally.
The next step was for the Education Authority to carry out an eight-week discovery exercise, facilitated by Version 1, to explore potential solutions that would allow parents/guardians to apply online for post-primary school placements from 2020 onwards. This expanded to include consideration of pre-school and primary school admissions given that EA had launched online applications for these sectors in January 2019.
From there, a product development roadmap was outlined for:
• A new post-primary digital admissions service
• Enhancements to the existing pre-school and primary school digital admissions services
A phased approach was established to ensure the Education Authority could break down a complex set of requirements into achievable chunks of work. This reduced project risk, allowed for regular updates, and provided EA with a clear understanding of how and when they can achieve their vision.
Version 1’s discovery process ensured that the Education Authority had a clear understanding of all stakeholder needs and the services, data and technology required to fulfil them.
Developing a phased roadmap means that the Education Authority can now clearly articulate what they want to achieve, how they want to achieve it, and by when.
Version 1’s collaboration meant the Education Authority is now equipped to develop a well-defined, cost-effective plan to delivering their digital solution – the path is paved towards the next phase in the Education Authority’s digital journey.
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