Allerton High School
State school in North West UK
“In terms of helping them with university choices, there is no doubt that it has made students’ choices a lot smarter."
Ben Harding, Head of Sixth Form
“In my nine years of working at Allerton we’ve had hundreds of different people try to sell us stuff, a lot of the products things that you could very well do yourself. But it was quickly obvious to me that Unifrog added a lot value.”
Diversity of courses
“In terms of helping them with university choices, there is no doubt that it has made students’ choices a lot smarter.
Students are able to access a greater breadth of courses and pick ones that are specifically interesting to them and that will suit them well, so they don’t have default to more generic ones. Specifically I’m seeing more students choose what I would call almost "good value courses”: courses where the entrance criteria was low compared to the value of what they learn."
“We’ve been able to better help students who weren’t sure whether university was right for them. In the past it was much easier for students to find information about universities than it was about alternatives. Now students also have more varied information at their fingertips - about pathways like apprenticeships and Further Education - and can make more informed decisions."
“We found that parents were sometimes worried about where their children were in the process of applying for their next step after school. This was especially true for students who were interested in non-university routes. That’s no longer the case - Unifrog makes the process transparent. I think in this way it is a tool that empowers independence.”
Students vs teachers
“Unifrog has enabled a more open relationship between students and form tutors. It has helped teachers feel they can provide more valuable guidance because the teachers have more information available to them. Teachers and students are having much more informed conversations regarding students’ applications - they are honing in on what students can be doing to improve their applications in light of the student’s aspirations."
“In turn, students can see which references have and have not been written and they can sort of nudge the teachers that are holding up their application - which has pros and cons (laughs).
We’ve opted to make it so that students can now see the grade they are being predicted, which is something that has always been a bit of stumbling block - kind of sitting in the background. This system allows for important conversations to occur earlier and in the open.
These are not always easy conversations, but they’re vital conversations that make sure the student is not wasting slots on their UCAS forms.”
Top tip: embedding
“Two key challenges were skilling up the staff and getting students to use Unifrog on a regular basis. My advice would be to consider these problems early on and begin to plan how you can embed Unifrog’s into the life of the school.
Unifrog has been one of the most responsive companies I’ve worked with in terms of their willingness to make it work for your school on an individualised level. We’ve had meetings with our Unifrog coordinator Dawn and our staff to really think through the school year, made easier by the fact the website now offers Year Planners, and pick out key events in which to embed Unifrog into the program and familiarise our students and staff.
In this way it becomes a really central component of our Guidance programme and not some standalone service - which is something that has happened to previous services we’ve used.”