The Education Authority help with all aspects of a child's journey through education from admission to pre-school, getting transport to school, changing schools, to moving through primary and post-primary. They are also there to help with newcomer issues, special educational needs and provide support whenever a parent/guardian or child needs it.
EA have a vision to support each child to be placed in an appropriate school for their educational need through the provision of a first-class, user-focused digital admissions service.
The objectives that must be met to achieve this vision are as follows:
Excellent customer service: a service that provides a “tell us once” facility; shortens timelines; enables secure communications and, where necessary, supports parents/guardians through digital assistance.
Digitisation: a channel shift for post-primary applications from paper to online; the reduction of paper volumes; integration with key systems including transport and free school meals and the ability for continuous improvement of the digital service.
Trusted, informative and secure data: the provision of a high-quality source of data that will provide improved MI and reporting; adhere to information assurance and data protection guidelines and comply with guidance and legislation.
EA and Neueda embarked on a partnership, initially working together through ideation workshops to discuss problem areas within the post-primary admissions process. These workshops were interactive and informative, and resulted in a strong working relationship being established. EA wanted to continue this relationship with Neueda and work with them to discover how these problems could be solved.
The next step was for EA to carry out an eight-week discovery exercise facilitated by Neueda to explore options for a citizen facing solution to allow parents/guardians to apply online for post-primary school placements from 2020 onwards.
The scope of the discovery expanded to include consideration of pre-school and primary school admissions given that EA had launched online applications for these sectors in January 2019.
What we discovered
The discovery very quickly uncovered a potential product development roadmap for:
A new post-primary digital admissions service; and
Enhancements to the pre-school and primary school digital admissions services delivered in January 2019.
A phased approach to the delivery of this roadmap was established to ensure that EA could break down, what seemed like a very complex set of requirements, into bite-sized and achievable chunks of work. This approach aims to reduce project risk, demonstrate progress through regular updates, and provide EA with a clear understanding of how and when they can achieve their vision.
“The project with Neueda has helped us use the discovery approach to analyse and understand how we can deliver a first-class suite of digital services suitable for the pre, primary and post-primary school journey."
Head of Continuous Improvement at Education Authority
Neueda’s approach to the discovery process has ensured that EA has a clear understanding of all stakeholder needs and how these can be translated into the delivery of required outcomes. Clarity around these needs and the journey to fulfil them has established the services EA must provide, the data they must capture, and the enabling technology required to support the solution.
Importantly, the outcome of a phased roadmap for potential development (starting with an alpha phase moving through a minimum viable product to beta and fully live solution benefitting from continuous improvement) means that EA can clearly articulate what they want to achieve, how they want to achieve it and by when.
Ultimately, this collaborative approach and the associated outcomes ensure that EA can very quickly understand their preferred solution, and how they will deliver it. This means they can take the discovery results through to development of a solution without loss of momentum and with a well-defined and cost-effective plan.