I recently attended one of ASCL’s three Leadership of Data conferences, which explore the challenges school leaders face with the data made available to them. I really enjoy attending these events as I always learn something and often recommend them to school colleagues. There’s a real appetite in schools to use data effectively and for SIMS to support this. So, manning our SIMS stand, I was certainly kept busy!
The final session of the day definitely interested me the most. A school inspector (HMI) explained the role of data in evaluating the achievement judgement in an inspection. He made the whole inspection process sound reasonable and undaunting. I am sure the audience was hoping he would be their lead inspector one day.
Making the most of your data
The inspector pointed out that if an inspection was only based on historical achievement data, there would be no point inspecting schools. But he also added that consistent low or high performance cannot be ignored.
Your school’s own data is crucially important in proving to the inspection team what’s currently happening in your school. The inspection is your opportunity to prove to the inspector that you’re tackling specific issues, pushing high attainers and addressing weak departments. Not only will the inspector be interested in data to prove this but they will also ask to observe these lessons and see children’s work. For example, by listening to a targeted reading group actually read.
Greater emphasis is placed by inspectors on National Transition Matrices used to compare pupil progress and attainment with their starting point and that of similar groups nationally.
Pupil tracking – measuring the impact
The HMI also stressed the importance of tracking pupils in receipt of the Pupil Premium and how the additional funding is supporting them.
It is not enough for schools to say that they paid for an extra maths teacher – they need to demonstrate the teacher’s impact on the pupils’ achievement. This goes for all groups at all ends of the spectrum, no matter how small or large the group. It’s important to look at what you are you doing to support each group and what impact is it having. This goes for off-site provision too. You need to consider what difference this extra provision is making to pupils.
How can SIMS help?
In our SIMS spring release, there will be a new interventions graph displayed on the pupil-teacher view. This will clearly display when an intervention started and what impact it is or isn’t having. In the meantime, were you aware that the tracking of specific pupil groups is already possible in SIMS? Read how SIMS Discover data analysis tool has helped Wimbledon Chase Primary School respond successfully to Ofsted during their last inspection.
If you’re wondering how else SIMS could help with your next inspection, then our White Paper, Ofsted Calling, is a great place to start. We share insight from ASCL specialists and examples of what other schools are doing to support their pupils to succeed.