School Finder

Created by Simon Whitehouse.

I'm a Product Manager in Birmingham, United Kingdom. I'm currently freelancing. Previously, I've worked at The Open Data Institute, Development Initiatives, Digital Birmingham. I earned a B.S. from Open University, UK.

Project Description

Our School Finder tool brings open data together from various sources, enabling parents and carers to make better choices.

The Schools Finder takes a postcode and shows:

- historic school cut off distances
- general information about schools
- links to Ofsted reports

and supports parents to decide which preferences to make as part of the school admissions process.

The schools admission process can be complex. There is a lot of information available to parents and carers, but not all of it is available from one place.

Parents are usually provided with an electronic document to explain the process, but trying to find out which schools they might reasonably expect to be able to choose for their children is difficult to understand. Our tool helps bridge this gap in understanding.

Early testing with parents in Birmingham has received an enthusiastic response, which demonstrates demand for a tool such as our Schools Finder.

In Birmingham we have used openly available route planning data through Transport Direct to estimate public transport travel times. We hope to include this, as well as adding walking routes, as part of our Education Challenge submission.

We'd like to use the competition weekend to work closely with parents and officers from a local authority to shape the Schools Finder.
Some work on system design and user experience is still required.
Further determination of the social benefits to be gained from the tool is needed
Support with determining a suitable business model for the tool is something we are interested in. We believe that, as well as providing services to parents, we can offer a useful analysis tool for local authorities too.

Project Goals

  • Release of a School Finder tool in time for the annual admissions round in Autumn Term 2014

  • Development of a commercial service for local authorities

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Louis Coiffait

Hi Simon - this looks interesting - do you have room for a writer/policy/research bod with an interest in open ed. data?


Nick K

Hey Simon (and Jin)

We've got a website to help homeowners understand their costs and local area, would love to find a way to link your tech to ours as we've been discussing a school finder for a while!

Drop me a line be great to speak.



Jin W Jeong

Hey Simon, I am actually working on similar website right now. Already have a draft of what the website would look like and gathered extensive cut-off data. Let me know if you'd like to team up.



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