13 June 2013: A survey of 88 school leaders conducted by Capita SIMS at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Annual Conference 2013, has found that 30 per cent of respondents had been unable to provide specific pupil data in response to a question raised during an Ofsted inspection.
Brian Lightman, general secretary of ASCL, said: “We know from our members that questioning during an inspection is becoming far more detailed and that inspection teams now arrive in school having only done minimal preparation in advance. Ofsted still want to look at the big picture, but heads are also being asked very specific questions about how different groups of students are progressing and how contributory factors like behaviour may be affecting the achievement of all or some of the pupils in the class.
“The upshot of this change is that school leaders need access to high quality and robust data from their management information systems to monitor the performance of individuals or groups in order to answer Ofsted’s questions and drive improvement.”
Despite the new focus from Ofsted, the survey also revealed that many heads and their leadership teams still use paper-based methods to track pupil progress, with 20 per cent admitting to analysing pupil achievement on paper. 18 per cent of respondents stated that paper was their preferred method of analysis and 19 per cent revealed that they lacked the technical know-how to move away from paper.
Phil Neal, managing director of Capita SIMS, the company which conducted the survey said: “The level of pupil-knowledge Ofsted expect is very difficult to obtain by paper-methods. Ofsted want to see that potential is achieved for every single pupil, not just across the school. They will ask what impact Pupil Premium funding is having and how these pupils are progressing against other class members or want a head to explain why there are more attendance problems with children with English as an additional language. Schools that do not use their management information system to perform this analysis will find it very difficult to access this information easily and quickly.
“The data that a management information system provides can also have implications that go far beyond an inspection. A school leader can use it to see where issues in the progress of pupils are developing and put measures in place to nip them in the bud. This helps heads achieve the guiding aim of every school – to give every child the support they need to thrive and learn.”
The results of the survey also revealed that where the management information system (MIS) is used in schools, 81 per cent of respondents felt it had the greatest impact on pupil achievement.
Other results are as follows:
53 per cent of school leaders felt the MIS was essential to prepare for an Ofsted inspection
86 per cent of school leaders accessed their MIS at least once a day, with 69 per cent stating they accessed it many times a day
81 per cent felt data from the MIS was either very important or quite important in monitoring teacher performance. This seems to suggest school leaders are looking at data on whether pupils are progressing adequately in a teacher’s class as a measure of their performance.
61 per cent would describe their governors as data aware, suggesting that school governors are becoming conscious of the need to analyse the progress of pupils in detail
To find out about the key role an MIS can play ahead of a school inspection please download a copy of Ofsted Calling, a white paper produced by Capita SIMS in association with ASCL, by visitingwww.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.