The Admissions Team are part of the Children and Young Peoples’ Service. Their role is to administer and manage the allocation of school places for up to 5,600 applications each year.
Why we needed a change
Parents and carers of children in Calderdale have usually applied for a school place by using a paper application form which had to be sent to them by the Council; when complete they returned it to the School Admissions Team and awaited a letter confirming the allocation of a place. At peak times in this process, i.e. around offer dates, the calls to the Council would increase and this meant that responses were slower than we wished. This was inconvenient for our customers and increased the costs involved in the process. Sometimes customers would visit the Team’s office in Halifax town centre which involved the time and cost of travel and waiting to see someone once there.
By working with various services in the Council we were able to make the online application process more attractive to people applying for school places. Although online applications had been available for quite some time it was poorly used.
We have started with the applications for secondary school places for September 2015. We liaised with local schools and with other local authorities who had already implemented this system to identify any potential obstacles.
Difference it made to the Council
It is much less costly and more convenient for Calderdale customers. We found that most customers made their applications between 7pm and 10pm when Council offices were closed. Each child has a unique id number which made the process safe. Immediately after submitting their application customers received an email confirming that the application had been received and the application process was available 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the closing date. When the decisions regarding allocation have been made customers will receive an email with their information just after midnight on 1st March 2015.
Feedback has been very positive and has given people confidence in dealing with the Council online.
For more information see school admissions in Calderdale