After an extensive procurement process, the Northern Ireland Education Authority (EA) Education Information Solutions (EdIS) Programme has announced Version 1 as the official supplier for the development of a replacement solution for the Northern Ireland Substitute Teacher Register (NISTR).
The EA EdIS Programme is a change programme which represents a significant £750m investment that will support the learning experience for children and young people over the next 10 years.
EdIS will facilitate the transformation of learning and teaching through technology with continuous improvement at its core and will transform children and young people’s learning experience, develop skills for the future, support programmes to improve educational outcomes and facilitate professional learning for school staff.
NISTR, an on-line web-based facility which provides a real-time booking system and a regional centralised database for all substitute teachers in Northern Ireland is a key project that has been identified for digital transformation as part of the EdIS Programme.
Martina Reynolds, EA EdIS Programme Workstream Lead, commented on the NISTR tender award: “We are really looking forward to working in collaboration with Version 1 to improve and transform the existing NISTR platform. Having seen the tools, experience and expertise Version 1 will bring to the project, I am confident that together we can deliver a new streamlined, intuitive user friendly solution that will not only meet but exceed the expectations of substitute teachers and schools for the 2022-2023 academic year and beyond.”
Frances Meehan, EA EdIS Programme Director, added: “NISTR represents one of the first major deliverables of the EdIS Programme and we are delighted to have appointed local company, Version 1 to partner with us in delivering this critical project. Having worked successfully with Version 1 on our award-winning Digital Admissions Platform, we are confident that the success of the Admissions Project will be replicated with NISTR.
“We will continue to work in partnership and engage with key stakeholders to help shape the future NISTR programme of work.”
Mairead Hylands, Northern Ireland Public Sector Commercial Director, Version 1 said: “Version 1 is delighted to be selected as the partner responsible for delivering the NISTR replacement solution, through the EA EdIS Programme. We are excited to expand our partnership with EA and I am confident that our expertise and experience in delivering digital transformation will ensure a successful outcome for schools and substitute teachers throughout Northern Ireland.”
The new NISTR solution will be a ‘mobile first’ application, providing school users and substitute teachers access to NISTR on iOS and Android devices for the first time.
Extensive engagement by the NISTR Project Team with substitute teachers, school users, employing authorities and trade unions throughout 2021 has enabled identification of key areas of improvement for the existing service and helped identify key features for the new NISTR system, including:
- A streamlined registration process to facilitate teachers to upload CVs and create their substitute teacher profile with minimal text input.
- An interactive and user-friendly interface designed to negate booking of substitute teachers outside the system.
- A simplified process that facilitates substitute teacher bookings in seconds.
- An integrated instant messaging and voice chat to enhance communication between schools and substitute teachers.
- An improved intelligent search function to quickly match schools with the right substitute teachers.
- An improved data and filtering for teacher positions for example, Irish Medium, Special Educational Needs and Nurseries.
- A new reporting function providing schools, employing authorities and the Department of Education with accurate and live data to better understand the use of substitute teachers and provide targeted support where needed.
- A seamless integration with current and future payroll systems to increase the timeliness and accuracy of payment for substitute teachers.
- An increased help and support function, with the provision of user guides, a Frequently Asked Question section, a chatbot for common queries as well as bitesize training videos.