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Round 1 research findings

Who we spoke to

All users were private beta participants
1 x Senior Lead Practitioner & ITT/ECT Development
3 x School business manager
1 x Headteacher

Goals of the research

  • Gain a better understanding of who the users of the new ITT grant funding claim service are
  • Gain more context regarding our users, their behaviours and mental models
  • Test ‘make a claim’ and ‘add a mentor’ journeys to validate if they meet user needs
  • Explore users’ expectations of how they expect to be notified of the new service
  • Explore users’ expectations of the guidance and the level of support they will require with this being a brand-new service
  • Explore what users expect to happen post-claim submission (if anything)
  • Explore what users expect to happen if they are nominated for sampling – what evidence do they expect to have to provide?
  • Begin exploring possible names for the service

What we tested

We tested the first iteration of the ‘add mentor’ and ‘add claim’ journeys.

Key insights

Participants need prior knowledge or context before using the service.

Participants expect to be told ‘everything they need to know’ to gain confidence in using the service. What they expect to know includes:

  • Timescales are key
  • Eligibility criteria
  • ‘How it works’ - participants were making their own assumptions for how the service works, including that you can claim ‘in lieu’
  • They need to know what data they are going to need so they can get this ready beforehand
  • They want some guidance on how to use the service - however, they said this before going through the service, then after reporting how easy it was to use

Because of the need for prior knowledge or context, even though all participants knew what a TRN is, they would have to locate it before inputting it into the service. This could lead to a potential drop-off.

“The deputy head or the mentor would keep a record, so I would ask them to confirm. I could do that relatively quickly.”

“I would have to seek clarification on the hours from the lead mentor.”

Every participant we spoke to did not understand the different hour options, including the ‘other’ amount.

As this is a new service, participants needed guidance before using it to understand the different hour options. Some participants said they thought ‘6 hours’ meant they could claim in lieu.

“I’m wondering if the 6 is a different level of mentoring. I have no idea.”

“Are hours cumulative or annual or per block?”

All participants expect the initial notification/invitation for the service to come directly from DfE via email.

Participants expect the email to include ‘how to’ guidance and everything they need to know before submitting a claim.

There was a desire to add additional information. This was to give them the confidence that all the information within the claim was correct.

Claiming funding can be nerve-racking for schools. Therefore, participants must be confident that all the information regarding their school and mentors is accurate. They hoped to see their organisation details at the beginning of the journey so they could check that we have all the details correct, especially if their details have recently changed.

Due to this, an emerging theme was the ability to add the trainee details. Participants knew this was not necessarily relevant to making a claim, but they felt the more information they provided, the better their chance of the claim being successful.

Emerging user needs

Users are currently being defined as ‘schools’ as we do not yet have enough research to differentiate needs by different user types.

As a school
I need to know what the timelines for claiming funding are
So that I know when we will receive our payment

As a school
I need reassurance that the DfE have the correct details for our organisation
So that I feel confident that our claim has been submitted correctly

As a school
I need to know what will happen after my claim has been submitted
So that I feel informed of the process and know what to expect from the next steps

As a school
I need to understand how to use the service and know what is required of me before I start a claim
So that I know what to expect and can prepare all the information required information ready before I start our claim

As a school
I need to know the status of my claim after it has been submitted
So that I can track the progress of our claim

As a school
I need to know if there is an issue with my claim
So that I can rectify it

Hypotheses to test within round 2

Hypothesis 1

We think users may leave the service when entering their TRN or mentor hours
We think this because, during research, participants informed us that they did not have this information to hand and would need to consult the relevant colleague to locate it
So if we inform them, they will be asked for this information at the beginning of the journey
Then they will locate the information before using the service.

Hypothesis 2

We think users get confused when presented with different hour options
We think this is because this is a brand-new service, and they do not know how it works before using it
So if we give users a link to the guidance and explain what the hours mean
Then, users will feel better informed and confident about using the service and will know what hours to pick when presented with them.

Hypothesis 3

We think users lack confidence when using the service
We think this because it is a brand-new service, and during research, they reported a lack of context and knowledge regarding how the service works
So, if we provide clarity at different points throughout the journey and add a link to the guidance at the beginning of the journey
Then, users will better understand how the service works and increase their confidence in using it.