How Education Authority successfully moved 70k school applications online
Digital transformation is taking hold in many industries (including education), with more services moving online with each passing year. That was the case for Education Authority (EA), which provides numerous educational services to students in Northern Ireland, including school admissions, financial assistance, newcomer support, home to school transport and special education.
When it comes to school admissions, Education Authority has a statutory responsibility to make arrangements and enable parents/guardians to express their school preferences. Additionally, they work with over 1,700 school/providers to process approximately 70,000 applications a year for pre-school, primary and post-primary schools. Until January 2019, these applications and processes were paper-based.
One part of Education Authority’s digital transformation program was to move annual school admissions applications online. While this had many benefits for parents/guardians, such as being able to submit applications and upload supporting documentations digitally 24/7, it also created a highly anticipated opening date with approximately 30,000 parents trying to apply as soon as the portal opened. This had the potential to overwhelm the Education Authority’s infrastructure and they needed a solution to help prevent any downtime.
In order to ensure all their customers could experience an excellent online service, Education Authority decided to turn to Queue-it. The virtual waiting room helped support their infrastructure as eager parents flooded their site when applications opened. All while providing them with a fair, quick, and transparent wait. Parents were informed why they were waiting online, and as a result, there were fewer calls to the Education Authority Admissions helpdesk.
We decided to implement Queue-it at key dates in the admissions process. It gave us the reassurance that the user traffic would be managed in an efficient way with the use of the virtual waiting room. It also allowed us to limit the number of users who were able to complete the application at any one time which resulted in an improved user experience.
The Education Authority Digital Transformation Team
Applying for a child’s place in school is an important milestone for many parents/guardians in Northern Ireland. Implementing Queue-it allowed Education Authority to maintain consistent performance when it mattered most. On top of that, parents were provided with a seamless customer experience. As Education Authority continues its digital transformation journey, with post-primary school admissions moving online, Queue-it’s team will continue to provide their own support and technical know-how.
It's simple to manage and set-up…Once you have everything in place, it’s easy from that point on. It doesn’t take long to integrate into your system. I think that’s quite important.
Martin McAllister, Application Architect, Education Authority
About Education Authority
Operational since 2015, 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 in Northern Ireland. That includes school admissions, special educational needs, and other areas of support.