Service access

What are the problems around accessing the Manage training for early career teachers service?


Building on research done by Luke Didsbury in late 2021 looking at pain points in the end to end user journey, this research is looking at one of the biggest challenges with our service.

Users are having problems accessing the Manage training for early career teachers service. The support team is unable to deal with the number of support tickets. We explored the following questions:

What quick fixes can we put in place to solve these problems?
What longer term thinking can we do to come up with solutions to the ongoing access problems?

No research was conducted specifically for this work, instead we gathered knowledge and understanding from previous research, support tickets and team expertise.

We ran a series of workshops with the team to frame the problems and break them down. We then prioritised them by frequency and impact. The results are below.

User needs, hypotheses and what we tested

User needs

As, DfE,
I need, to know when a participant starts their induction
So that, I can ensure they are validated at the correct time - after they have QTS and before they start their induction, and, I can define which cohort they are in and start funding them at the correct time.

As, a school induction tutor,
I need, access the manage training for early career teachers service to register my participants
So that, I can ensure all of my participants are can be funded to receive the correct induction at the correct time, whenever they join my school

As, an ECT
I need, to be able access the manage training for early career teachers service to add my information for validation
So that, I can complete an ECFbased induction


  • Solving the problems around accessing the service will reduce the number of support tickets.
  • There are a number of changes that we can make to improve a number of different problems. In other words, some solutions will have more impact than others.

Key outcomes

There are two main groups of support tickets

Users are primarily School induction tutors (SITs) who are often part of Senior Leadership teams (SLT). The same user can experience multiple problems.

Users are unable to access the service.

  • This problem accounts for about 2\3 of tickets
  • Comparatively these tickets are easier to solve

Users are unable to do what they want due to a lack of functionality or trouble with existing functionality.

  • This problem accounts for about 1\3 of tickets
  • These tickets are difficult to solve, they are confusing for support to diagnose and often require escalation to the product team. They also often require a developer task in order to resolve.

Generally, we are concerned about:

  • Time burden caused on users, especially the SIT
  • The demand on the support team
  • The demand on delivery partners, lead providers, appropriate bodies and MATs where schools ask them for help first

Focusing on access issues, there are two high level groups of users to consider

First time users trying to sign-up to the service

This problem reduces over time as more schools register, currently there are 13,874 eligible schools with no SIT registered.

Everyone else trying to sign-in to the service

This problem will continue to grow but it comes in waves each year as schools have to register participants. The next wave will be Sept 2022 when schools reopen after the summer holidays.

The top 3 problems around signing in to the service based on frequency are listed below. These problems are more common than sign up problems

  1. Someone else in the school is registered. This is likely because the user does not know who is registered, or the user expect to have access because they have a DfE Sign-In account or they are the head teacher. It can also be because there are multiple SITs at a school. This is the most common problem and the hardest one to solve by the support.
  2. The old SIT has left the school and not handed over the role and access to the service to the new SIT. This is an easy problem to solve though.
  3. The sign in link doesn’t arrive. This is often due to email filters and user error. This is the hardest problem to solve.

The top 3 problems around signing up to the service based on frequency are listed below.

  1. The GIAS contact does not action the link sent to them by email. This is either because they don’t see it or they don’t receive it. This is the most common issue for support.
  2. The school has to sign up in many other places which can cause confusion. This is onerous, frustrating and confusing for users, and our support team receive a lot of complaints.
  3. Lack of awareness of the service. Users often have no idea what to do and where to do it. Because users have limited interaction with the service, they are not familiar with it.

Next steps

We identified some quick wins that would help solve some of these problems. This includes more support macros to enable the support team to more efficiently help users access the service, and building understanding across the team to ensure everyone knows how to solve the support problems.

We also came up with longer term recommendations to be prioritised by the team. This includes designing ways to solve the access problems. Some ideas have been already mentioned in discussions and noted on the lucid board linked above.