Edinburgh’s Telford College boosts attendance monitoring

Supporting learner achievement with analytics technologies

Published on 21 Jul 2011

With help from Barrachd and IBM, we’ve developed a solution that could deliver compelling advantages to almost any further education institution. We’re keen to develop it further in partnership with other like-minded organisations and really maximise the benefits for our own learners and staff.

Lisa Dawson, IS Manager at Edinburgh’s Telford College

Edinburgh’s Telford College


Deployment country
United Kingdom



Edinburgh’s Telford College provides further education and training for 20,000 learners of all ages, primarily focusing on vocational courses and professional development. Based in Edinburgh, the College has 600 staff and works in partnership with a wide range of local, national and international organisations to offer an enhanced learning experience.

Business need
Edinburgh’s Telford College wanted to find a way to track learner attendance more effectively. Not only would this help with administrative processes such as the allocation of bursaries; it would also form the basis of a new predictive analytics solution that aims to boost retention rates by identifying learners who are at risk of dropping out.

The team worked with Barrachd, an IBM Business Partner, to design and deploy a solution that interacts with the College’s student records system and provides managers and lecturers with visual dashboards and personal timetables that track attendance and activities. This solution will soon be made available to all learners through a mobile application. Based on IBM® Cognos® Business Intelligence, the solution also analyses demographics, course popularity and other factors that affect learner retention. A retention model will be piloted within the 2011-12 academic session.

Provides a basis for predictive analysis of learners who are at risk of dropping out, and prompting staff to intervene before it is too late. Highlights the importance of attendance to staff and learners, leading to improved attendance rates and aiding more efficient management of funding allocations such as bursaries and EMA. Increased register completion rate, providing more accurate and complete data for analysis. Improved financial management by ensuring that each learner receives appropriate bursaries. Simplifies reporting to external organisations such as the UK Borders Agency.


IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Cognos Business Intelligence

BA - Business Intelligence, Smarter Planet

Legal information


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