Why we did this work

A long-standing pain point on the Manage school experience service is the process of getting the right permissions to manage school experience requests for a school.

Users need access to each individual school that they manage school experience for and were often confused by the journey of requesting access, which relies on a separate authentication service, DfE Sign In.

This process also relied on a user knowing who their ‘approver’ was. If they didn’t know this information, they had no method to follow up on a request for access. This meant that users could be waiting for extended periods of time for permission, with no way to speed the process up.

We also observed school profiles become inactive over time, due to difficulties in onboarding new users. The person responsible for managing school experience might change for many reasons, such as a staff member leaving or taking time off work. We often saw that the user with permissions was not able to handover to a new staff member without asking the new user to go through the same permission request process that they did.

What we did

We built functionality to allow users who already had permission to access the Manage school experience service to add new users to their school from within the service.

We introduced a new section to a user’s dashboard, ‘add new users’. This functionality uses the DfE Sign In’s API functionality to add users to an organisation.

This reduces reliance on approvers and allows a more self-serve approach.

Figure 1: User process flow for adding a new user to a school on Manage school experience.

After adding a user through this process, the added user receives an email to tell them they’ve been added to a school. They can then login and administer school experience.

Figure 2: GOV.UK Notify template a user will receive when they are added to a school on Manage school experience.

What we’ve seen so far

We launched the new functionality on 2 May 2024. We sent comms to users who had previously managed school experience for a school.

As of 22 May 2024, 38 users have been added using this feature. We are tracking this using GOV.UK Notify’s template usage functionality, which tells us how many times a specific template has been sent to an email address.

Next steps

We will continue to monitor usage of this feature on GOV.UK Notify.

We will be also be doing a separate piece of work to analyse onboarded schools to identify those that are either slow to respond to candidate requests for school experience, or not responding at all.

We plan to email these schools and their users to try and encourage them to add new users. This is part of our strategy to improve the supply of schools across England.