Start in Leeds

Start to Apply FAQs


What is Start to Apply?
It’s the new way for students in Leeds to apply for post-16 education, training and employment opportunities. It’s available through the city’s digital careers platform Start in Leeds ( and replaces UCAS Progress.

Who will use it?
Students in Key Stage 4 will use Start to Apply to research their post-16 options and – supported by their school – make applications to sixth forms, colleges, and training providers. These providers will publish their course information and manage the application journey with helpful tracking data flowing back to the student, school and Local Authority.

When will it be available to use?
The platform will launch at the start of November 2019. Thereafter, we’ll continue to consult with stakeholders to ensure that the platform is continually shaped to meet user needs.

What training and support will be available?
A calendar of digital, print and face-to-face training will be provided to supplement ongoing support from a helpdesk (details to be confirmed). This support will be designed for users of the platform responsible for supporting students to make their applications as well as those receiving them.

Do students need to register?
Students can browse but they will need a Start account to make applications. Registering new students for an account is easy and existing users of Start will not need to register again. Once students have an account, they can use this to access Start in Leeds and Start to Apply.

Will staff need to register?
As with students, staff in schools and providers will need to register for a Start account to manage their applications. Once registered, staff will need to be assigned a ‘user role’ to use Start to Apply. The Council will maintain this service, as they did with UCAS Progress. The Council will liaise with schools and providers to set up ‘superusers’, who will then be able to assign additional user roles within their organisations. If a ‘superuser’ leaves their organisation, a recognised member of SLT or management can request a replacement.


Student Functionality

Can students write different personal statements for different courses?
Yes, keeping the same or changing a personal statement for each application are two options.

Will personal statements and references follow the same format as UCAS Progress?
Personal statements and references will each be a single text entry box, with sample personal statements and references available to show some typical structures as a guide.

Will students be able to apply to providers outside of Leeds?
The main out-of-area providers are being invited to present their courses on Start to Apply and to register so that they can receive applications through the platform.

Can students apply for apprenticeships through Start to Apply?
Apprenticeships without an assigned vacancy will be advertised on the platform for students to apply to. Specific apprenticeship vacancies will also be listed and these will link to the National Apprenticeship Service, however, the platform will not track applications made on NAS.


School Functionality

Can school staff view applications made by students?
Yes, all applications made on the platform can be viewed by authorised school staff.

How will predicted and actual grades be added to student applications?
Schools will be in control of this and we are designing a bulk upload process so that the data can be easily uploaded and matched to the relevant student account. Once uploaded, changes can be made to individual students by a registered and authorised staff user.

Will schools be able to add relevant learning support information?
Yes, the list of learning support fields which can be populated by bulk upload are listed below. Schools can also allow individual students to amend this if the need arises.

Are references required to go with the student’s application?
Following consultation, it was decided that references are mandatory content to allow schools to add value to the student’s application.

Will references from teachers be shared with the student?
Schools will add references to the platform to accompany a student’s application but students will not automatically see their references.

Do all applications have to be approved by the school?
All applications have to be approved by the school before they are submitted to providers. This is to ensure that students create the best possible impression with providers.


Provider Functionality

Can providers with their own systems to manage applications still use Start to Apply?
Yes. Providers can list their courses and accept applications through Start to Apply, then use the download functionality to extract application data in a format ready for upload into their own system (e.g. Pro Solution, Tribal EBS etc). Once decisions on applications have been made, providers can re-upload the data to Start to Apply so that students and schools are notified.

Can providers use Start to Apply as their application management system?
Yes. The application process can be fully-managed on the platform by registered and authorised staff. This includes all elements of the process including reporting.

Can students who attend college open days, for example, apply offline at the event?
This is at the discretion of providers. We understand if providers find it timely and responsive to let students apply on paper systems e.g. at busy events. We will make it easy for providers to upload any ‘in house’ applications to Start to Apply. This will mean the whole city can monitor the success of the system and help to ensure that all 16 and 17-year-olds are offered a suitable place in education or training by the end of September (September Guarantee).

Can ‘in house’ applications be uploaded for students not registered on Start to Apply?
Yes. As long as the provider supplies all the data required by the platform (including student UPNs) then accounts will be automatically created which can subsequently be reported on.

Colleges and providers have multiple campuses: will it be clear where courses are run?
Yes, venue name and address, as a subset of provider name, is a feature of the platform and this information is attached at the course level.


Start To Apply Leeds Sponsors

Last Updated :  25th September 2019


Further information

Tracy Waud, Sufficiency & Participating Manager, Leeds City Council
0113 3785945


Developers of Start to Apply: U-Explore Ltd.
0113 276 8080