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Schools autocomplete

Live demo and pull request.

If we begin asking providers for their list of partner schools we’ll need a fast and easy way to create and manage that list. Partner schools can be more than 1,000.

Use the accessible autocomplete with the Edubase schools data, there’s about 26,000 schools.

Each option contains:

  • school name
  • town
  • URN number
  • postcode

This allows searching for schools by each of these properties (eg all schools in ‘BN1’). The text is also necessary as a differentiator when choosing a school with a common name – for example St Mary’s Catholic Primary School.

User research

We’ve begun testing this pattern as part of the UCAS Transition work. It is being used in the Add training location flow.

We’ve found that:

  • if many schools have the same name, the right one is hard to find, eg St Patrick’s or St Mary’s (example)
  • imprecise punctuation meant that an exact match was not shown (eg missing comma or apostrophe)
  • users do not necessarily know the postcode, when they do the search works well

We’ve tweaked the prototype so that:

  • punctuation is ignored
  • 30 results show, rather than 10

While out of scope for a prototype, the live version of this must be able to handle fuzzy matching, for example:

  • starting a search with St Mary’s, then qualifying it with London or the beginning of a postcode (eg BN1), should show all matching schools in London or that area
  • common alternatives must be considered, eg CofE, C of E, CE, Church of England

Schools autocomplete#

Screenshot of Schools autocomplete

Schools autocomplete (GIF)#

Screenshot of Schools autocomplete (GIF)