Caterham School

Surrey, United Kingdom

Matthew Wood

Deputy Head (Admissions)

The system is so user-friendly and the time-saving is incredible; OpenApply has shown us how much more we can achieve!

About Caterham School

Caterham School is situated in the beautiful Harestone Valley, set in the Surrey Hills, England. The school provides a stunning location for its extensive campus. Caterham benefits from 200 acres, which include sports fields, woodland, a high ropes course, and an outdoor learning centre. The school’s supportive environment ensures that by the time Caterhamians leave school, they are intellectually curious and emotionally intelligent thinkers, eager to engage with the world around them.

Why OpenApply

Deputy Head of Admissions, Matthew Wood, explains, “Our admissions process didn’t offer a great experience when applying, as everything was paper-based and not very efficient.” The school was looking for a platform that covered marketing, events, and admissions to help showcase their school comprehensively.

Matthew continues, “Too much of our process was done manually, and OpenApply empowers families to accurately supply relevant data, which is really beneficial. That leaves our team the bandwidth to be registrars rather than spend time on data entry.”

The school needed its current processes and software to be integrated, with the ability to perform data analytics more easily, be more market dynamic, and deploy marketing initiatives quickly and easily, reducing manual processes in their admissions department. They required a centralised platform for data entry, admissions, marketing. Since OpenApply combined all three of these elements effectively, the school began using the platform in January 2022.

Alison Jones, the school’s Registrar, comments, “The user interface is really intuitive too.” Matthew agrees, “Yes, the UI is really nice! When we were looking at another solution, their UI was fine, but the UX (User Experience) was poor, which was ultimately a barrier, whereas OpenApply looked great and offered both.”

Matthew was delighted that it had addressed the school’s needs. “OpenApply has shown us how much more can be done following the notable time-saving. We’re not clocking off at three in the afternoon as a result of OpenApply, however we’re just much more effective at our jobs, which is of course a testament to the platform’s capabilities, and a great benefit to our school.”


Throughout OpenApply’s implementation, Matthew highlighted three main strands of emphasis: the orchestration of admissions, data analytics, and marketing.

He explained that the school’s marketing department were using other software such as MailChimp to push out messaging to key segments, however following the implementation of OpenApply, this evolved. Matthew adds, “We are now using OpenApply more, as MailChimp is less effective in this regard, which is a strength that OpenApply has.”

OpenApply in Action

OpenApply enabled the school to set up exporting of data sets so that they could easily track trends in very specific areas that they were interested in. “With the ease in which you can save template reports and export, we have incorporated exported data into spreadsheets that help us with tracking particular trends,” Matthew points out.

Looking back at the ease of the implementation process for Caterham, Matthew shares some important advice, “My recommendation, if I was to do it all over again, is to have built our application form and the application process from the ground up. I would advise using OpenApply’s standard fields, plus the team’s wealth of experience from working with leading schools around the globe. While our experience is quite internal, your team has a great breadth of experience, with your software having to absorb a myriad of requirements that schools around the world request.”

Matthew’s shares another tip for schools, “We perhaps over complicated matters by trying to onboard our current process into OpenApply, but once you get to grips with how OpenApply works, you will understand its full potential. Ensure you scrutinise your current school process first!”

Caterham sang the praises of our support team, with Matthew explaining, “Your Customer Success Manager Tom is a true expert, as well as being incredibly honest and accessible. He is also very creative.” Alison echoes Matthews sentiment, “He has the patience of a saint. I ask him the same questions all the time, and he never looks irritated – he’s really good!”

The End Result

The team at Caterham acknowledges that they are now much more proactive with their communication thanks to OpenApply. They love the filter on the roster and the conditional logic in the tags, to name just a few features.

Alison is equally fond of the roster and the easy messaging features, “It just reduces so much stress and gives us more time. When we’re trying to find out who’s attended an event, you can just go to the dates. The information is easily accessible.”

The team at Caterham reported that staff outside of the admissions department are also fans of OpenApply, as they have visibility into a plethora of comprehensive data. “It’s truly a professional piece of software for highly aspirational teams, and while some people may not be used to that, the user interface is so good for anyone looking at it for the first time,” remarks Matthew.

Caterham is currently considering adopting OpenApply’s CRM in the near future to further support their marketing team. When asking Matthew if he would recommend OpenApply to other schools, he jokingly exclaims, “No! Because it gives us a market advantage, so I don’t want them to have it!”