How Edulink One can help with admissions
Amanda Perry, one of our Overnet Support team, is a former school data manager. She shares her tips on how Edulink One can help with managing admissions, allowing you to ditch many of paper-based processes that schools have historically relied upon.
Get ahead – do your preparation
Before joining Overnet Data, I was a school data manager for many years. As I’ve experienced Edulink One from both sides, I thought I’d share my advice on making the admissions process easier.
Prior to receiving the admissions information in March, I found it was helpful to do some practical preparation in advance. This ensured I was ready to launch into action as soon as the admissions data file arrived. Here are my recommendations for setting up and utilising Edulink One to help manage the admissions process.
Data collection can be easily done using Edulink One, allowing your parents of new starters to fill out the required data for their child(ren) and update their own contact information in Edulink One, rather than issuing hundreds of paper admissions and data collection forms.
The first port of call is to import your admissions data into Edulink One and set up accounts to enable parents access to update their data online. You can read our support article on how to set up applicants here.
However, standard data collection fields do not go far enough for most schools. There are many questions that schools need to ask applicant parents (which will only be asked of applicants). Parents can update their standard information in the Update Information section of Edulink One but in order to collect additional information from parents, you can set up Forms.
Forms for additional data collection
I would split the additional data you need to collect with forms into 3 sections:
- Statutory information required by your school that will impact on funding/census or general running of your school
- ‘Of interest’ information required by your school to ensure smooth transition
- Tracking parental sign-off/approval
Edulink will store all form replies and a list of non-responders for easier administration.
You can learn how to create forms here.
1. Statutory information required by your school
If you receive an admissions file from your local authority, theoretically, the majority of statutory information should be included. However, if you are not supported by a local authority and handle your admissions yourselves or key information is missing, you may wish to add questions to your form for applicants, to ensure you have the information you require and make your life easier. For example:
- Adopted from care – which authority?
- Child in care
- Free School Meals (FSM)
- Siblings/other family connections
- Primary school
- Medication taken
- Court order
2. ‘Of interest’ information required by your school to ensure smooth transition
Consider asking this additional information if relevant:
- School uniform, if ordered through the school
- Music Lessons
- Language preference (French/Spanish/German etc)
- Summer school if relevant
3. Tracking parental sign-off/approval
Finally, in terms of form questions, you want to ensure you get parents to confirm the following (Edulink will store the sign-off details along with all the answers):
- Parents to say that data collection details are correct
- Parents to say they have read and agreed to school policies (remember to signpost them to where they can be found – usually the Noticeboard)
Utilising the Noticeboard
Edulink One’s Noticeboard allows you to share key information with parents, students and staff. You can use folders to make things tidy – here’s some recommendations for applicant parents:
- All policies, behaviour expectations etc.
- Uniform sizing and requirements
- Copy of all letters sent home to applicants – use folder
- Transition day format and requirements
- Term dates
In addition to Noticeboard information, remember to add helpful websites in Links section, for example:
- Uniform suppliers
- Local authority – admissions or term dates
- Trust website if relevant
Based on my school data manager experience, using Edulink One as part of the admission process meant we were able to greatly reduce the administration time required. Parental engagement increased significantly, and admission packs were completed in a more timely manner as no longer were there reams of paperwork to complete. All responses from parents were centralised which made tracking easier.
Forms and data collection are included as part of the Edulink One software suite. If you’re not already using Edulink One to help with new admissions, check out the articles below to help you set it up. You’ll save your school time and money and you can ditch the piles of paper and keep your sanity!