A white paper from Capita SIMS produced in conjunction with the Association of School and College leaders (ASCL), reveals how the effective use of pupil data by schools is critical in preparing for their next Ofsted inspection.
Brian Lightman, general secretary of ASCL, explains: “We have evidence that Ofsted is looking beyond simple group and subgroup analysis and want head teachers’ understanding of their schools to be intuitive. Head teachers need to know whether they have an issue with low level conduct issues, for example, and if so, understand how this is affecting children’s attainment. This level of understanding is only possible though effective use of pupil data and a management information system (MIS).”
The white paper, ‘Ofsted Calling’, looks at a number of case studies to see how schools are using data to help manage Ofsted’s expectations. It also examines how an MIS can help a senior leadership team understand the true nature of their school’s weaknesses so that they can be addressed ahead of their next Ofsted inspection and in the long-term.
Phil Neal, managing director of Capita SIMS, says: “The latest Ofsted changes mean that schools receive less warning of an impending inspection. Also, the ‘satisfactory’ category has now been removed. This means head teachers are under pressure to ensure their school meets the criteria to be considered ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.”
With such importance placed on the result of an inspection, head teachers must adopt an ‘always prepared’ policy. They must be able to present a true picture, based on live data, of their school when an inspector arrives.
Dr Janice Gorlach, head of standards at Carmel College and Carmel Educational Trust, which uses the SIMS MIS, concurs with this view. Four years ago, the school was judged ‘outstanding’ in all categories in a pilot no-notice inspection. Dr Gorlach reveals how data stored in the school’s MIS plays an important part in underpinning its progress.
Dr Gorlach says: “Everything is in our MIS, enabling us to analyse the data effectively. An individual, group, teacher or even a whole subject area that is struggling to maintain progress can be easily and swiftly identified so that supportive actions can be put in place to recover strong progression.”
Phil Neal, managing director of Capita SIMS, continues: “Head teachers and their senior leadership team need to be able to instantly access current information on behaviour, and provide evidence of achievement within specific groups of pupils, such as those with special educational needs or on free school meals. It is the effective and regular analysis of relevant data that can ensure the information is ready for Ofsted, but also that the school is on top of where improvements need to be made. It is this that will ultimately make a real difference to a school’s overall performance and Ofsted rating.”
An MIS allows schools to collate, edit and analyse information. It enables schools to build a complete picture of every student and a comprehensive profile of a school.
To download a copy of the white paper, please visit www.capita-sims.co.uk/ofstedcalling.
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About Capita SIMS:
Capita SIMS is the leading supplier of information systems to the education sector, providing a range of software and services to schools and local authorities to help raise standards and reduce administration. Capita’s SIMS is the most popular management information system for schools and is used every day by more than 22,000 educational establishments in the UK.