30 May 2014: Primary school leaders that have instant access to pupil progress data will find themselves at a significant advantage when an Ofsted inspector arrives at the school gate, reveal headteachers in a new report.
‘Ready for Inspection’, a white paper published by Capita SIMS, has been compiled through a series of interviews with school leaders and the findings show that evidence is critical in the new-style Ofsted inspections. It also features Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers.
“Ofsted inspections are now much more data driven than in the past. As leaders, we need to know our pupil data very well and be able to provide this instantly for Ofsted when they visit,” says Gemma Buckley, deputy headteacher at Little Harrowden Community Primary School, and one of the heads featured in the report.
Christine Terrey, headteacher at Harbour Primary and Nursery School, further believes that is not just leaders that need the information. She comments: “It is a massive miss for primary schools to limit access to senior managers, as Ofsted inspectors will talk to teachers and subject leaders about their data too.”
This is a view backed by Rosie Simmonds, headteacher at Leverington Primary Academy. She remarks: “When the Ofsted inspectors visited us they checked our knowledge individually. This is what every senior leadership team should expect in an inspection.”
The white paper looks at how primary schools can get the most out of their data to provide hard evidence on the key areas to focus on ahead an Ofsted inspection. It highlights how many primary schools are still failing to recognise the importance of widening data access to all members of staff.
Russell Hobby says: “Robust data is challenging – it removes us of excuses and forces us to address the reality we face rather than the one we would like to face. The profession, therefore, needs to grab hold of data and ensure it is used properly for learning and improvement.”
‘Ready for Inspection’ also reveals that accurate, accessible data can and should be used for long-term improvement.
Phil Neal, managing director of Capita SIMS, comments: “Data analysis now underpins the Ofsted framework. Headteachers are no longer able to rely on their professional judgement when asked to comment on the changes that have taken place at their school. Those who are unable to provide tangible evidence of the progress they have made place themselves at risk of failing an inspection.
“It is vital that primary school leaders have confidence in the accuracy of information they have collected and their own ability to manipulate the data to show pupil progress. In fact, knowing you are completely prepared can alleviate many concerns around inspections.”
To download a copy of the white paper, please visit
Twitter cue: Data on tap critical for successful #Ofsted inspections, says new report by @CapitaSIMS http://bit.ly/STFO3L
Issue date: 30/05/14
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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.