“Xref has enabled us to scale at a really important time without increasing our operating costs.”
hours reference turnaround time
completed outside of business hours
Just Education is a pioneering startup changing the way schools hire supply teachers forever through the deployment of technology. Built on a foundation of fairness, integrity and quality, Just Education is on a journey of growth of which Xref is proud to be a partner.
Lorin Clough from Just Education shares the story of their partnership with Xref.
Just Education is a startup business backed by the ParentPay Group, the largest supplier of cashless payment systems to the education sector in the UK. We’re a lean team working tirelessly to change the way supply teachers are hired within schools so that schools make much needed savings and supply professionals are rewarded for the significant contribution they make.
Traditionally, schools access pools of supply teachers through recruitment agencies and every time they are placed, the school pays excessive fees to the agency. Even when a teacher returns to the school multiple times, the same fees are paid. We believe that it is wrong that schools pay fees that are not warranted or earned, nor should they need to outsource the decision-making about who is most suitable to be in front of a class.
This is a deeply embedded process that we want to change through technology. We exist to help schools save money and give them more control over who is placed in them, while also offering greater support and rewards to supply professionals.
Through Just Education, schools can source, shortlist and hire supply teachers, then continue to work with them, by creating talent pools which enable them to deploy staff more flexibly.
Our challenges are two-fold:
1. We’re educating the market. We know we’re asking schools to change the way they do things, to stop using traditional recruitment agencies and trust technology to exercise more control, and that’s not easy.
2. We have to balance recruitment and sales - we’re constantly recruiting supply teachers to build a valuable workforces, but as you might expect, supply teachers need a regular feed of placements and opportunities. We’re constantly shifting our focus from hiring supply teachers to onboarding schools, keeping our talent pool fresh and our client base growing. We have to keep up with demand and manage this balance.
"Being a technology company and given our mission in the education sector, we’re very open to adopting new technologies.
We’re a small team but each month we can process around 300 teacher applications and as many as 600 references. We used to email a reference form and follow up by phone, which could take up to three weeks to complete. We simply can’t operate like this with the volume of hiring that we do so we needed an automated solution that could help.
Because of the environment in which we are placing our workers - in schools, working with and supporting children and young people. Our teams are subject to a much greater level of checks and vetting and we follow rigorous guidance about how to onboard people in education. Safeguarding children is a priority so we need to ensure that we have sought to understand the background of a person that we are hiring and their experience can only be underwritten by a robust reference check.
I’m a convert! We have been using Xref during the COVID-19 pandemic - a time during which schools have been closed down and, as such, referees even harder to reach - yet with Xref we’re seeing references returned in 52 hours on average, with no phone or email chasing on our part.
Xref has enabled us to scale at a really important time without increasing our operating costs. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting all aspects of society, there has never been a more important time to be there to support schools in both their daily delivery of the curriculum as well as supporting vital catch-up activities.
Reference checking through Xref is safeguarding both the schools we work with and our business.
We now feel like we can reply upon our references to a far greater extent than we could before. Xref detects cases of unusual activity which could be signs of a fraudulent reference allowing us to validate the authenticity of each response. We investigate every single case that is flagged and have found that 80% of those are indeed suspicious. This is an ability that we would never have had before and a huge value add for our schools.
This capability and the fact that we are collecting references for every hire thankfully means we are mitigating the risks of any safeguarding issues, but should a situation arise we have a full audit trail through Xref. Our referees are more accountable having put their name to a written reference that is saved online. This gives us an incredible amount of confidence.
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