In November 2019, bushfires tore across New South Wales, forcing the organisation to close schools. Only a few months later, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many schools to close. Millions of people visited Education NSW – a clear sign that people needed information.
Throughout the pandemic, schools have closed and reopened multiple times, often with rules changing depending on the region. People relied on NSW Department of Education to provide information on school closures and support resources.
“Delivering content in the right context at the right time, is important even in normal circumstances,” says Buckmaster. “The bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic provided a real-world test of our ability keep people informed under crisis conditions rapidly and on a large scale.”
In short order, NSW Department of Education deployed alert banners to every school website. Using content fragments within Experience Manager Sites, the team broadcasted the alerts to 500 sites at once.
The organisation syndicated content across school sites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and even TV news, directing people back to a central page for all official updates and policies. It also launched a new mobile app, where teachers, staff, and parents can get up-to-the-minute status updates on school closures.
“Website traffic has increased 100% since I started at NSW Department of Education. We have 1.2 million to 1.8 million visitors every month, with 20,000 concurrent users at any given time,” says Buckmaster. “Having a robust, reliable platform is essential to keeping our school and communities connected during difficult times.”