We’re really excited to share that the Department for Education (DfE) and dxw digital team officially met all eighteen points in our beta service assessment for our work on the Teaching Vacancies service. In its report, the assessment panel said: “The team should be congratulated for the significant progress they’ve made.”
We’ve been working with DfE since 2017 through an alpha and now beta phase as part of delivering on a manifesto commitment to “[create] a single jobs portal for schools to advertise vacancies in order to reduce costs and help them find the best teachers“.
Schools spend an estimated £75 million annually on advertising recruitment vacancies. Designing, building, and delivering the Teaching Vacancies service has been a steady effort in helping schools shift the costs of online job advertisements to enable them to be able to have more control over their recruitment budgets and to make it easier for job seekers to find teaching jobs.
Take a look at DfE’s end of year round-up for more details of our progress throughout 2018.
Understanding user needs
Having met all of the eighteen points in the beta service assessment also means that we’ve designed and built a service that meets high-quality standards of GOV.UK. That means building a service that is based on understanding user needs, addressing security and privacy issues, using open standards, and puts in place performance indicators that will help the team improve and iterate upon it as more users engage with the service.
Posting once and being found in many places
One of the key components we designed into the service was ensuring all listings created in Teaching Vacancies generated structured job listing data in line with the JobPosting Standard. Structured job listings data allows each listing to be picked up by other job listing publishers and allows more candidates to reach the largest possible audience even if they’re not directly using Teaching Vacancies. Creating listings using the JobPosting Standard allows the vacancy information that school hiring staff post on the service to be found on other services such as Google Jobs and Indeed search results as well as to Teaching Vacancies.
Building a public service that helps users connect to each other
Teaching Vacancies is different from conventional digital public services because its primary function is to enable two different user groups, school hiring staff and job seekers, to connect to each other. In contrast, a service like Hackney Council’s Report a repair for council tenants is about citizens connecting to their local council. The difference is that only Hackney Council can respond to a repair, whereas the Teaching Vacancies service plays more of a bridging role between schools posting teaching roles online and teachers searching online for new opportunities.
Being a good bridge means focusing on doing in-depth user research with our primary user groups. Our research activities included:
- Conducting exploratory research to identify the lifecycle of posting a job online and search for a job online
- Prototyping and usability testing several iterations of the service with over 250 research participants across different devices, including desktop and mobile
- Putting the service through a digital accessibility audit
- Conducting assisted digital support research and building out the support model
- Running participant workshops where school hiring staff and users are the main designers
Teaching Vacancies roll-out plan
The work doesn’t stop at passing the beta assessment, currently over 2500 schools have registered to use the service with more being added on a regular basis as they are taken through the registration process on-boarded by DfE’s support team, whose aim is to have invited all schools across England to sign up by the end of January.
Here is DfE’s provisional roadmap for when the service will be available in your area. If you are:
- school hiring staff: you can find out when your headteacher will be invited to start listing vacancies on the new site
- a job seeker: you can find out when teaching roles will be listed in areas where you want to find jobs
|Provisional dates||Regions included||Status of roll-out|
|From May 2018||Test phase – participating schools in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and North East England||Complete|
|From July 2018||Remaining schools in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and North East England||All schools invited|
|From August 2018||Schools from:
(3a) RSC region South Central England & North West London
(3b) RSC region East of England & North East London
(3c) RSC region North England
|3a (all schools invited)
3b (all schools invited)
3c (all schools invited)
|From November/ December 2018||Schools from:
(4a) RSC region South East England & South London (4b) RSC region East Midlands & Humber
(4c) RSC region Lancashire & West Yorkshire
|From January/February 2019||Schools from RSC regions West Midlands and
South West England