Australia first, then the world for Seqta - SPECIAL REPORT

01/07/2015 - 14:41

A commitment to making things easier in education has been the key to success for this year’s Rising Stars winner. Click through to see more on SEQTA Software and the other winners of Business News' 2015 Rising Stars awards.

TOP TEAM: Members of the Seqta Software executive team at their offices in Joondalup. Photo: Attila Csaszar

A commitment to making things easier in education has been the key to success for this year’s Rising Stars winner. 

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Mid-way through 2005, SEQTA Software founder Grant Grosser was fed up with what was happening to teachers at Western Australia’s schools.

The former deputy principal was at the end of the line, disheartened by the number of teachers he had to replace because of heavy workloads and wasted time on administrative tasks.

So instead of continuing with what seemed like a futile search for a better outcome, Mr Grosser decided to quit.

He didn’t waste his time, however, and it wasn’t long before he and wife, Sharon, were back in the teaching game – albeit on a completely different level.

“I started getting a lot of ideas. I had developed some pastoral software using access databases and some attendance software, as well as some reporting software,” Mr Grosser told Business News.

“But none of the existing companies was interested in my ideas.”

Mr Grosser then realised that he not only had to set up his own software company, he needed to create a single portal that would make all of a teacher’s tasks, from administration, to teaching and reporting, easier.

He enlisted the help of a developer in 2006, and soon the first version of the Seqta Suite was created.

The first schools didn’t sign up until two years later, and it wasn’t until 2012 that Seqta started to gain traction in the industry.

During that year, Mr Grosser said, the entire system was redeveloped to ensure it was at industry-leading standard, while it could also be easily upgraded as technology improved.

At the end of the 2012 financial year, there were 38 schools using the Seqta Suite.

By the end of FY2013, that number had nearly doubled, with 68 schools signed up.

That number rocketed the next financial year, to 273 schools at the end of FY2014, while there are 316 schools currently signed up in FY2015 to date.

Across those schools, around 17,000 teachers use the software daily.

“We are very clearly focused around bringing value to teachers,” Mr Grosser said.

“There has been a lot of talk in education with regards to students being at the centre, and there’s no question that students are at the centre, but at the centre of who does the work to facilitate student learning is the teacher.

“Our job is to look after the teacher, and then the stuff that the teacher does will naturally flow out to the students.”

Seqta executive director John Vickers, who joined the company in 2010, said the student-parent portal, which allowed teachers to communicate and collaborate with kids and their parents regarding assessments, homework and how they were progressing, had become a key element in the success of the software.

“The student-parent portal has been available for the last three years, but it is in the last two years that it’s really picked up pace,” Mr Vickers said.

“We’ve had some very positive feedback from parents in terms of real time knowing with what’s happening with assessment, homework and how the child is progressing, so progressive reporting is a big thing.

“We’ve had some interesting, sometimes amusing feedback from kids, saying ‘gee I wish this thing didn’t exist, my parents now know I’ve got homework and they know what I got for my last assessment’.

“Teachers are doing no more work than what they already were, but just by ticking a box they are making available what they’ve done to parents and/or students.”

The scope for future growth for Seqta in Australia is significant; there are more than 9,500 schools across Australia.

With 316 schools on board, Mr Vickers said Seqta was now in a position to compete for sizable government tenders, which would increase the number of schools using the software considerably.

But Australia is not the only frontier for Seqta, which is formulating plans to set up an office in Singapore to begin an international expansion.

“One of the visions for the future is that we want teachers to have access to the very best tools to do the things they need to do in the classroom,” Mr Grosser said.

“Some people have described our product as like an iPhone for teaching software; you just sit down, turn it on and start using it. It’s intuitive.” 

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