Double First Limited, now trading as ‘Engage’, was founded in 1987.
It initially focused on accounts and administration software for independent fee-paying schools in the UK. Following a period of successful trading, the owner approached du Pré plc, a business telecommunications service provider, to explore potential synergies.
du Pré acquired a minority stake in Double First in 1990 and eventually obtained 100 per cent ownership in 1998, seeing synergies with the independent school and the wider education marketplace.
During the early 2000s, schools started to recognise a need for more complex and empowering Management Information Software (MIS). du Pré and Double First Ltd merged during that time in order to facilitate the funding of the development of its MIS offering.
Double First has only ever operated in the independent education sector. Its main product, Engage, an integrated school information management system to provide a versatile and expansive MIS for the whole school community ecosystem, was initially launched in 2007. More than £6.5m has since been invested in the development of Engage to become the most powerful solution in its marketplace.
Double First expanded into the Middle East in 2009, into Asia shortly afterwards and has established a South African subsidiary Engage School Management Systems (Pty) Ltd in 2016 and an Australian subsidiary Double First Pty Ltd in 2018.
Having become self-funding, and experiencing rapid growth, the business was de-merged from du Pré in early 2017.
Double First is now a global leader in the provision of a global school and financial information management software to worldwide independent and international schools. The company’s success in overseas markets was recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade in 2016.
With multi-lingual and multi-currency capabilities, together with a flexible, innovative feature set, Engage has been widely adopted in multiple jurisdictions. Around 60 per cent of new sales are with international schools overseas and Engage is growing its 20 per cent share in the UK independent and seven per cent share in the UK international schools marketplace.