When Sheffield High School, an independent school for girls aged 3 to 18, went from a ‘good’ to an ‘excellent’ Independent Schools Inspectorate rating, as well as triumphing in the ‘outstanding senior leadership team’ category of the Independent School Awards (ISA), a key element of their success was to introduce a whole school approach to the use of data. Standardising the school’s use of SIMS has provided staff with much clearer insight into their pupils’ progress.
Deputy Head Sarah Boyse explains: “Staff now have a more complete picture of the girls’ achievement. With SIMS they can display pupils’ attainment in red, amber and green, depending on the progress they are making towards their targets. This makes it much easier for us to see how each pupil is doing and spot the warning signs early if a child starts to slip behind.”
The tools available in SIMS are also helping to provide a more holistic view of each pupil. “If a girl’s achievement in maths was previously on target but her effort grades have started to slide, we can flag this, step in to identify the reasons and take action before she falls behind,” says Sarah.
A major advantage of SIMS is that the whole school is now engaged in understanding the story behind the data. “If a pupil is falling below target, their tutor can provide support quickly and monitor its impact, the Head of Year can look at the data and see if there is a wider issue that needs addressing, and the curricular and pastoral teams can work together to better support the child.” The school’s strategy has already had an impact on pupil performance – in 2015, the number of A* grades achieved at A Level increased by 14% from the previous year, with 76% of pupils gaining A or A* grades.