How we became market leaders in appraisal software

Damien Roberts

Damien Roberts, Director and Co-Founder

Having being part of Derventio at inception, Damien is an experienced software developer who now specialises in sales and marketing. He prides himself on delivering honest and transparent demonstrations to potential customers. His passion for edtech is infectious and he possesses a strong working knowledge of the industry.

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Since its foundation in 2006, Derventio Education has built a reputation amongst schools, colleges and training establishments for delivering intuitive software that saves educators time. Flagship product SchooliP, which streamlines appraisals, professional development and school improvement processes, is used by thousands of teachers and school leaders. Here, we explore the company’s journey from inception to market leaders.


Having begun as a software house in 2006, Derventio entered the education sector with a visionary desire to improve schools, colleges and training organisations in such a vibrant and rewarding industry. Managing Director, Stuart Reece had previously successfully designed and written education languages software that were used in a range of organisations. A conversation with Sir Mark Grundy (now CEO of Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust) identified the need for software to support schools in their efforts to achieve improvement and maintain high standards. Mark commented that edtech should not to be used for the sake of it, but instead, should be a key tool to efficiently improve standards in education and have clear measurable outcomes. This is at the heart of the software being offered by Derventio Education to schools, colleges and training organisations.

Developing Edtech

Initially, Derventio developed electronic self-evaluation forms that were developed to support schools with their inspection preparations and ongoing school improvement. This allowed multiple senior leaders to collaborate on live working documents. The functionality, based on customer requirements, was later expanded to include staff appraisals, improvement planning, lesson observations/monitoring and managing continual professional development. The integration of these key processes has enabled a strategic approach to improvement which has seen hundreds of schools choose SchooliP.

With improvement planning applicable to all phases of education and the private sector, product offerings were expanded. CollegeiP was developed to support further education colleges and for universities, there is UniversityiP. A particular highlight is the recent development of Alto supporting the Ministry of Defence with Alto, a solution that facilitates the management of training portfolios and education provision. Working with a diverse range of institutions has led to a comprehensive customer base that has furthered a detailed understanding of education. Derventio appreciate that the world of education is constantly evolving and; therefore, enhances its software based on customer needs.

Sustained Success

Success of Derventio Education is attributed to listening. As development experts, bespoke solutions are created to meet customer requirements and deliver satisfaction. Customer account meetings, with account managers with an education background, ensures regular conversations with senior leaders to determine development road maps. As a result, there is a heightened awareness of the demands of the sector and Derventio are able to stay ahead of trends in an ever-changing environment.

Despite appraisal being sometimes perceived as a mundane process, having an electronic portfolio of evidence is invaluable. Teachers and support staff are easily able to demonstrate their strengths and identify key areas for development. Ensuring teachers have the opportunity to develop their skills is paramount to advancing teaching and learning. Therefore; products have evolved focused on improving the quality of teaching and organisation improvement.

The Future

Education is moving towards a more collaborative approach with the creation of multi-academy trusts, groups and federations. As these organisations become larger, so does the need to align and create efficient systems. They allow increased purchasing power to make informed decisions. In recognition of this, Derventio’s solutions are evolving to cater to the needs of education and for greater collaboration.

The advancement of technology represents an exciting time. Having already embraced web-based tech and mobile development, the challenge is to create products to make organisations more efficient and avoid the repetition of processes in multiple systems. With the increased usage of mobile/tablet devices by educators, plans are afoot to increase the functionality of mobile applications. Increased functionality and links with a commitment to reduce teacher workloads and allow teachers more time to do their role of teaching rather than administrative tasks. Derventio is proud to be at the forefront of education and actively assists academic institutions to maintain their integrity and ensure the wellbeing of their staff.

For more information about SchooliP's impact in UK schools, visit their customer reviews on EdTech Impact:

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