Like the ubiquitous tins of chocolates many of us will be sharing this month (or, in my case, monopolising), there’s something in our autumn release for everyone.
From the universally popular caramel and nut chocolates of the Capita One world - Admissions and Transfers - to the new kid on the block (peanut butter wafer anyone?) - the Better Start Assessment Portal - I feel sure you’ll be delighted by at least one of our autumn developments.
I’ve selected five highlights below from the autumn release, but don’t forget to check out My Account for the full details of these and other exciting enhancements:
Monitor and analyse early years assessment
It’s common knowledge that, for young children to have the best chance of a good start in their education, their development and progress need careful monitoring. But it’s not just the providers and settings themselves who need this picture – local authorities need oversight too, both as part of their statutory responsibilities, and to help them intervene early, where needed.
Which is why I’m delighted to announce our new Better Start Assessment Portal for early years. The new portal, being introduced this autumn, enables statutory and local assessment information for 0 to 5 year olds to be collected by providers and automatically transferred to the local authority children’s records within One PULSE. The portal has been designed to help local authorities and providers see the ‘big picture’ of children’s development, making it easier to track progress, spot any areas of concern and identify trends. In this way, everyone will be better prepared to intervene early to address any particular needs.
Making it easier to manage provider information
This autumn, we’ve also enhanced our new Early Years Provider Self-Update Portal in line with customer feedback, including the addition of email notifications to inform providers and local authorities when information is submitted and subsequently approved. You can now also configure your guidance text to suit your requirements as well as the option to switch on/off when new services can be added. Watch this space for further developments in 2017 as we further enhance the information providers can view and update.
Greater flexibility on questions for school place applications
We know that one size certainly doesn’t fit all which is why we’ve included ‘additional questions’ functionality in One Admissions and Transfers to allow you to configure custom questions to be asked during the online school place application process. This functionality can be applied at both application and preference level for both main phase and in-year applications. You can also now send in-year application status updates to applicants via the Citizen Portal, with in-year applications closed when those applications are no longer required, automatically updating A&T Back Office.
Supporting you in meeting the latest statutory requirements
We understand how crucial it is that One enables you to meet your statutory responsibilities and we put significant resource into developing our solutions to ensure you can adhere to the latest statutory requirements. This autumn we’ve made changes to One to accommodate the following statutory returns for England and Wales: ATF, Alternative Provision, SEN2 and Early Years Census; PLASC Annual and Attendance Census; EOTAS (Education Other than at School) and EYPP changes to School Census; CBDS code changes, school preferences date collection (Primary/Secondary) and UK Bases.
In addition, I’m pleased to confirm that our autumn release also includes each of the changes made recently by the Department for Education regarding the collection of nationality, country of birth and first language in the AP and EY Census.
New in System – create passwords nearly as long as a tweet
We’ve strengthened the System password requirements needed to log into One, including requiring at least 1 each of upper case, lower case, number and a special character, and ensuring that the password doesn’t include the person’s username. We’ve also increased the number of historic versions that can’t be reused to 10, as well as increasing the minimum and maximum length of passwords to 10 to 128 characters. And for those who struggle to remember 128 character passwords (that’d be me then) you’ll be pleased to learn we’ve added a user self-service reset password facility for your convenience.
Making it easier to manage training provision
We’ve enhanced training manager to help you manage training provision more efficiently and effectively, including an improved communications scheduler to make it easier to email notifications to applicants. You now have the option of creating invoice points for all your bases, establishments and people, and also a more detailed bulk invoice report to provide better granularity of information. You’ll also notice improvements to how you set up courses and how you allocate applicants to a session.
I hope you’re looking forward to these as much as I am. And for those who might be wondering, the hazelnut whirls are the ones I head straight for.