Making EDA Work for a Growing Charity

Aspire is a Liverpool-based charity that seeks to uplift the tertiary education opportunities of Sixth Form students in the city by giving them intensive help with their university applications for Russell Group universities. Aspire’s particular focus is on helping students facing disadvantaged circumstances see themselves as future Oxbridge students.

Away days are held for students throughout the academic year and regular guidance and support is given whilst they complete their UCAS applications. A network of local alumni of Oxbridge colleges are connected with applicants – for many, this will be their first encounter with people who look and sound like them that have achieved such academic success. 

Though a small charity, Aspire works with all major state schools in the city region and anticipates growth over the coming years, aiming to reach more young people across the region.


Raising aspirations of students across 30+ sixth forms

The Process

As with many new and growing charities, spreading students’ data over various Excel sheets was becoming unworkable and risked data loss. Creating a central repository for data was essential, where all student, parent, teacher and school data could be viewed. This was especially true of parents’ emergency contact data during events, where safeguarding requirements meant parent details must be immediately accessible. 

Moreover, Aspire runs two programmes – Inspire for Sixth Form students, and Reaching Higher for students finishing high school – maintaining contact with students as they progress through their school career. Previously, Aspire had no simple way to track an individual over time through these programmes, and no way of automating reporting or even gathering data to produce reports. A flexible system would underpin another Aspire goal, to expand beyond its existing schools into the Liverpool City Region

Aspire prides itself on creating away days and weekends for students to get to know academic-minded peers and broaden their perspectives, but this was an ad hoc process, as was matching students with events and ensuring parental consent was given. It was a core requirement to make the process simple, reduce human error and be reportable.

The Results

  • All student, teacher and school data are in one place, successfully utilising the EDA model.
  • Flexible functionality to iterate the student cohort model as year groups leave college and new ones prepare their university applications. 
  • Effective tracking of student participation at Aspire events and de-risking lack of emergency contacts. If these are paid for events, confirming payment and highlighting in embedded charts.
  • Ability to track application success, keep in contact with all applicants in the years after leaving Sixth Form, and a ready-made list of future alumni for coaching the next generation of Scouse high achievers.