We recently caught up with Sarah Dawson, Operations Manager at ALET multi-academy trust and Applicaa customer across multiple schools in the MAT setting.
We wanted to ask Sarah some key questions about the use of Applicaa and the benefits for MATs. Before ALET adopted the Applicaa system, the Trust was using Excel spreadsheets and applicants would complete an online form on the website. This was the system being used across the whole Trust.
Sarah explains the changes she has seen over the last four years since adopting Applicaa into the MAT.
Using Admissions+ for enrolment day has totally revolutionized the way that we manage our admissions process. One of the main benefits we’ve seen is using Admissions+ as our central enrolment software and how this has made the whole day so much smoother. Everybody knows how many students we have enrolled and what subjects they want to study.
It enables us to set limits so if we can only take 20 students for example into an English A-level, we are alerted once we have reached this capacity. We can then make informed decisions on whether to adapt our timetable, add additional classes, and so on. The whole system of enrolment is so much smoother.
In terms of working hours on Enrolment Day itself, it has saved a significant amount of time. Using one system across the Trust, we now know how many students have signed up, what stage of the enrolment process they are at, and when we are at capacity.
Working Across a MAT
For a Trust, we now really now know what’s going on. We have a real-time picture, a real flavour across the whole MAT. So we can see how everybody’s doing without having to get numbers in from each school every day. It is so much more comprehensive than the old methods we were using. From a school level, it’s enabled our admissions coordinators to have that one piece of software that they manage the whole admissions process through, so from application through to communications, advising on open events and so on, everything is in one place.
That has been brilliant because you can literally use one system to do all of that. As a multi-academy trust, we have also very much taken advantage of the MAT platform so enabling staff that aren’t involved in the day-to-day running of the system to log in and see progress, on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, how are the numbers progressing?
Benefits for ALET
In terms of actual savings seen, I would say it’s been very much about the time we have saved especially in terms of data. There are definitely cost efficiencies across the Trust. I would certainly say you can’t necessarily quantify it but the savings but in terms of time, professionalism, data, and in knowing the students and where they are in their application process, it’s been invaluable.
What about Post-16 Bursary Management?
Again, we were using spreadsheets and pieces of a paper originally.
The first time I looked after the bursary applications for one of our schools there were just so many pieces of paper!
Bursary 16+ has revolutionalised that because students now apply for a bursary directly through the software and upload their supporting documentation. When you have an ESFA audit you want to be reassured that the information they’re going to look at is correct. I know we’ve gone through the right processes and complied with the correct due diligence to find out if they are eligible for a bursary.
Has Applicaa Helped in Centralisation?
Yes definitely in terms of having admissions across a range of schools in different locations and being able to see all the information in one place, it has really helped us to have clarity and visibility on the data that matters and it’s in real-time, so I can look at a graph and see how many applications each school has had in a month or a day, fabulous!
Yes, I’m a great advocate of Admisions+ and Bursary+. I have recently been to another school and sung praises! It gives you that single access to manage processes with confidence in the data. I really couldn’t fault Applicaa for the support they’ve given us throughout the whole of process. We’ve been using Admissions+ for about 4 years now and have introduced it to other schools. If I ever moved to another Trust, I’d be advising them to purchase Applicaa solutions!
Have you Seen a Change in the Number of Students?
Without a doubt, parents and students can go onto our website and see our application portal, the fact that it is so simple to apply for a place at any of our schools means we are getting more applicants. Our external students get that flavour of what we’re about and a lot of our UTC schools are computer-based in terms of their curriculum specialisms so it fits really nicely.
Our internal students are obviously a much easier group to communicate with but it does give them that nice feeling of belonging, they’ve got a system, they know their applications are in and they can see the communication that we’re making with them. They can see every stage that their application is at and then once we get to enrolment, you know we know who we’re expecting. So even for internal applicants, it helps with a smooth process and enhanced communications.
For more information on our management for MATs please email firstname.lastname@example.org.