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Best Educational Service Providers in Australia | Service Provider Awards 2023

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Facilitators of excellence

Education is an interconnected industry, and The Educator’s Service Provider Awards 2023 shine a light on an increasingly important link in the chain.

Kane Bradford, head of professional practice, innovation and partnerships at Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School, describes how the best service providers offer “bespoke solutions”.

Explaining how vital service providers are for Australia’s education sector, he says, “Schools are becoming increasingly diversified in their approaches, so the notion that one product or solution will fit all contexts is no longer relevant. The most transformative solutions will be those that have flexibility for a co-design approach.”

This year’s awards recognise 28 organisations that are offering educators a platform to extend their capabilities and be more efficient with their time.

 

Tom Richardson, LiteracyPlanet

“There are 750 million people who are illiterate in the world, and that’s the problem we want to try and fix”

Tom RichardsonLiteracyPlanet

 

Making the difference

LiteracyPlanet’s mission is to enable all children to be able to read, and it is a founding member of the World Literacy Taskforce, a group working towards the UN’s goal of eradicating illiteracy by 2040.

The key fulcrums of LiteracyPlanet’s strategy are:

  • a freemium offering (LP Starter) with provisions requiring only an email address

     
  • world-class literacy development via any internet-enabled device

     
  • a customer care team available Monday to Friday in Australia, the UK and soon the US

     
  • an in-app chat feature that enables two-way discussion with our customer care agents for real-time and immediate resolution of issues

     
  • LP Pro and LP School accounts available on a 30-day trial

 

Instead of requiring users to navigate a paywall, now any child can get access at no cost.

CEO Tom Richardson says, “It’s been groundbreaking. We now have 80 countries using the platform. We’ve got children who wouldn’t otherwise get access to world-class education. Money is not a barrier.”

Not only does the company, which has 29 members of staff, make a difference, but the initiative also allows its platform to improve.

“They kids tell other kids and teachers love it, so they tell other teachers. So, the population of users is going up through the roof, which gives us a whole lot of feedback about what people like and don’t like, and that helps us improve the product and to keep iterating,” says Richardson. “That means you don’t have to hire a whole lot of salespeople, do a lot of demos or run a whole lot of workshops, and we can grow the business with a pretty small footprint.”

Affirming that is Adrian Alimic, literacy learning specialist at Pentland Primary School:

  • “LiteracyPlanet training gave our teachers more confidence in using the program. It also gave them more knowledge on how to differentiate lessons to support student needs and how to tie in other literacy goals to support the learning with LP.”

 

Campion Education, another of 2023’s Service Provider winners, is a supplier of resources, including print, digital and stationery to schools in Australia. It stands out by offering:

  • versatility

     
  • all digital tools within one platform

     
  • each school access to local customer support, a dedicated account manager, a school support coordinator and a dedicated specialist in tech support

     
  • a purpose-built eCommerce system that presents a personalised school resource list for each student

     
  • 15 retail stores around Australia

 

General manager of marketing Susannah Bowen says, “If I had to put us under one headline, I would say it’s all around making it easier for schools. Students and teachers can access all their digital tools rather than having to use 15 different logins.”

Further strengthening Campion’s reputation is how it compares to the market. Its internal research data show that:

  • 95% of school staff would recommend the firm

     
  • 90% of families are happy with the service

 

Bowen adds, “What we do really well is being a one-stop shop and making it easy for customers. We have competitors, but there’s no one who has the breadth that we have.”

Offering support for that viewpoint, Wesley College’s Bart Rutherford says:

  • “Campion’s been a one-stop shop, and it grows with the school. I’ve seen them grow as a company with the digital age, and we’re sort of learning together. As we see something, we can bring it up with our representatives, and they can work with us for a solution because it benefits both of us.”

 

Susannah Bowen, Campion Education

“Every single person who works here has this amazing dedication to getting it right for schools and students in what is a fairly complex business with a lot of moving parts”

Susannah BowenCampion Education

 

The best educational service providers prioritise culture

A values-led environment is something LiteracyPlanet prides itself on. That is maintained by ensuring all new staff are aligned with the common culture. Where employees are and their backgrounds are not considerations.

“What it really comes down to is, do they really believe in the purpose that we’re going after? Because in the end, what motivates almost everyone in our business to get out of bed on a Monday morning is trying to solve this problem of children’s literacy,” says Richardson. “Unless people care about that, they are not in the right place.”

Keeping to its standards is a significant contributor to LiteracyPlanet’s success.

“Most of the people that have joined us recently are people who we’ve known from one place or another, and they’re connected somehow in the literacy community. We’ve very purposefully adopted a product-led growth mindset where we focus all of our energies on making the product a really great experience.”

This is mirrored by Campion, formed in the 1970s, which massively ramps up its staffing levels in the six-week period leading up to schools restarting by taking on 1,500 staff.

Bowen says, “They all have a passion for education, and the summer staff is actually around giving back to the community. Often, we’re giving young people a first job; it might be students who are on their summer break and they come work for us. We find they come back year after year while they’re doing their degree.”

What marks Campion is how the entire workforce must assume a variety of diverse roles.

“It’s all hands-on deck. The MD is jumping in a truck and driving up and down the country to do deliveries, and I found myself wearing high visibility directing traffic – it’s just this real focus on whatever needs to happen to get it right for students in schools.”

 

Raising the bar higher

Despite being recognised among its peers, Campion is not resting on its laurels. The company is ambitious and sees gains to be made in refining its digital output.

“We want to work on our aggregation tool, which is a platform that gathers the resources that students and teachers are using and puts them all in one place,” says Bowen. “In particular, Immersive Reader and Read Aloud, which will help students who are dyslexic or for whom English is their second language.”

Reacting to winning the award, Bowen says, “It will mean a lot to our team, particularly because it’s a service award, and that’s really in keeping with the ethos of the company – doing the best possible job we can for schools and students all around Australia. We have people in locations all around Australia – sometimes one or two person locations in regional areas doing their absolute best – so getting that recognition of their quiet achievements will mean a lot.”

LiteracyPlanet is similarly proud to be celebrated as one of the best educational service providers.

Richardson says, “It means a lot. We really appreciate the process and being able to continue to do what we do and get recognition for it.”

The future for them is clear: penetrating the global arena.

“We already work with a large percentage of these Australian schools, and the impact we can have is going to be in offshore markets, particularly the US and the UK, in the next 24 months, and then moving to English as a second language countries,” Richardson says. “The challenge is to take this small business started up on the Gold Coast of Australia and export the product into all these global markets.”

 

Kane Bradford, Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School

“Schools are becoming increasingly diversified in their approaches, so the notion that one product or solution will fit all contexts is no longer relevant”

Kane BradfordLindisfarne Anglican Grammar School

 

Interactive learning

  • Accelium and Mind lab Australia
  • Atomi
  • Lumination
  • STEM Punks
  • Toolbox Education
  • uQualio

 

Learning management systems

  • Classe365
  • D2L
  • Education Perfect
  • Instructure
  • Moddle (open LMS)
  • Schoolbox
  • uQualio

 

Performance tracking

  • Atomi
  • Classe365
  • LiteracyPlanet
  • uQualio

 

Professional development

  • Australian Council for Educational Leaders
  • Australian Teacher Aide
  • Digistorm
  • Hutton Consulting Australia
  • MSA Training and Professional Development
  • Seven Steps to Writing Success
  • THRASS Australia
  • Victorian Commercial Teachers Association (VCTA)

 

Recruiters

  • anzuk Education
  • Frontline Education
  • Hutton Consulting Australia

 

School uniforms

 

Security software

  • MSA Training and Professional Development

 

Student and school management systems

  • Classe365
  • Spectrum Analysis Australia
  • PeopleBench

 

Suppliers

  • imageseven
  • LiteracyPlanet
  • Spectrum Analysis Australia
  • uQualio

Between April and May 2023, The Educator called on education service providers catering to schools across Australia to participate in the annual Service Provider awards. Entries were invited across nine categories: learning management systems, recruiters, student and school management systems, school uniforms, interactive learning, performance tracking, suppliers, security software and professional development.

The Educator team objectively assessed each entry for true innovation and proven success and benchmarked each nominee against the others. By the end of the judging process, the team had narrowed the entries down to 28 of the sector’s most outstanding service providers, producing the highly anticipated Service Provider Awards 2023 list.



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