Hello, my name is Lucy, I look after marketing and operations for Applicaa and have worked in education sector marketing since 2012. I have three senior school-age children and have experienced the application process to a variety of different schools over the years including in the UK and the USA and across different stages from nursery to sixth form and different types of school including state, grammar and independent.

Why is data important?

The first time I saw Admissions+ I knew there was huge potential for the product and that it solved a significant number of administrative headaches for school staff and also for parents. School marketing and admissions teams need accurate, timely data partly to be able to report quickly and efficiently to a variety of stakeholders but also because it is a temperature gauge of how close or otherwise a school is to meeting admissions targets.

Online applications mean data is produced automatically. Our dashboard delivers live updates, so as a student completes an application, the number on the dashboard increases. What we’re seeing with the schools we work with, is a real need for more and more sophisticated analysis and reporting. There is pressure on all types of schools to fill places and in an ideal world to be at or close to capacity.

What’s next for admissions in schools?

Parents are more time-poor than ever before with the ONS (https://www.ons.gov.uk/) reporting that 72% of families in the UK have both parents in employment, which includes full and part-time. Parents are juggling jobs with raising their children and they need to be able to rely on robust, fast and efficient systems. They have limited time for administrative tasks around the working day and want to spend quality time with their children whenever possible.

Schools that offer easy options will gain ground. This is particularly important for Prep and Primary schools where parents are likely to be in their 20s and 30s onwards and have been using online systems as a matter of course across bookings, shopping sites and for travel and leisure activities. They have come to expect online options as the norm. Face-to-face contact is of course still vitally important but if we can reduce admin and couple personal face-to-face meetings with efficient online systems, there can be an efficient hybrid system using technology where it’s needed coupled with great personal service.

Where is school management going in terms of technology?

2020 and the COVID pandemic has moved digital transformation up the school management agenda with many schools globally adopting new technologies very quickly and using them to great effect in the classroom with tools like MS Teams, in admissions with tools like Admissions+ and delivery of virtual open days and in school management using tools like Zoom and the many MISs for effective meetings and school management. Whilst many of these tools were already available, it was not until we were forced to work remotely that they were adopted in a mass way across sectors. Indeed, McKinsey & Co reported that there has been a 5-year acceleration in digital adoption over the last year. It is unlikely that this leap forward will ever reverse.