29 August 2013: A survey of local authority school support staff has found that 61 per cent of respondents consider school inspections to be the main concern for headteachers.

The research also revealed, somewhat surprisingly, that one fifth (22 per cent) of local authority staff claimed that many schools in their area were still using paper methods to analyse pupil achievement. This is despite the fact that Ofsted requires schools to have up-to-date information available on how well individual students are performing, and on the progress that they are making.

The survey also found that paper methods were still being used by many schools in 32 per cent of local authorities to analyse teacher performance. In 28 per cent of authorities, many schools were using paper to analyse pupil behaviour.

This reliance on paper means schools risk missing important information that can help them identify which pupils need support, which teachers need training or which pupil’s behaviour is starting to deteriorate so they can intervene.

Attendance data was most likely to be analysed electronically with only 12 per cent of local authority respondents reporting that many schools in their area still used paper.

Catherine Roberts, deputy headteacher at Wimbledon Chase Primary School, discovered the benefits of using the data on her management information system (MIS) when the school received a call from Ofsted.

The school used to print out pupil progress reports and manually analyse the data. Monitoring different groups used to involve calculating how individual pupils were performing one by one and comparing the information to other children.

Following the introduction of SIMS Discover, she was able to carry out all the necessary analysis the day before the inspectors arrived and provide up-to-date information.

“Within 24 hours I had everything I needed to hand to prepare for Ofsted, which would have been absolutely impossible before we had SIMS Discover,” Catherine remarks.

Phil Neal, managing director of Capita SIMS, says: “Every school leader aspires to be at the helm of an outstanding or excellent school. But when the call arrives about an impending inspection, what concerns headteachers most is the ability to access detailed information about their school’s progress. This concern is heightened if data is recorded on paper and stored in separate folders.

“Headteachers already have the tools to record and analyse the data electronically in the form of their MIS. By simply making better use of them they will be able to access data about individuals or groups of students with ease. This will help with Ofsted inspections, but also long term, enabling headteachers to spot when pupils are falling behind or if they need to be challenged further.”

SIMS Discover allows schools to extract and analyse data held in their MIS and present it in the visual format of their choice – a Venn diagram, line graph as well as a bar or pie chart. Having this information to hand can lead to a rise in the quality of teaching and reduces the amount of administration office staff endure on a daily basis.

Phil Neal comments: “An MIS can have a dramatic impact on whole school improvement. Yet crucially, it also enables headteachers to answer any question an inspector may have to support the continued hard work of every member of staff.”

Other findings included:

30 per cent of respondents felt uncertainty surrounding funding was the main concern for headteachers within their local authority
31 per cent reported that headteachers within their local authority regularly used their MIS
53 per cent revealed that paper-based methods of analysing data were still in use as headteachers lacked the technical know-how to use other methods

The survey was completed by 90 respondents at the Capita SIMS Annual Conference in June. The conference was attended by IT and MIS school support teams representing 109 local authorities.

Twitter cue: #survey from #CapitaSIMS reveals preparing for an #Ofsted #Estyn inspection is the main concern for #headteachers http://bit.ly/19Nqo4q


Ref: CAP1095

Issue date: 29/08/13

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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.

Website: www.capita-sims.co.uk

Twitter: @CapitaSIMS