How to use your past performance data to kickstart your school improvement plan

Maddie Kilminster - 14 September, 2020

Category : Blog

How to use your past performance data to kickstart your school improvement plan

The start of this academic year presents a lot of immediate challenges for students and staff – from new routines, to catching up on lost learning and recovering emotionally from lockdown. Looking beyond September towards setting school improvement objectives for the whole year, School Leaders are also faced with a challenge. With a six month

The start of this academic year presents a lot of immediate challenges for students and staff – from new routines, to catching up on lost learning and recovering emotionally from lockdown.

Looking beyond September towards setting school improvement objectives for the whole year, School Leaders are also faced with a challenge. With a six month gap in reliable attainment data, there’s less evidence to help identify areas for improvement.

So how can you use the data you do have to inform your school improvement plan this term? 

Gathering evidence

Like any other year, the first (and arguably most important) step in creating an effective school improvement plan is to really understand your school’s performance in depth, including the attainment gaps between different student groups and the factors that cause them. 

This year, without performance tables, ASP data from the DfE or consistent assessment data from last term, a good idea is to look back at your prior attainment data (averages over three years are ideal) as a starting point.  

For a full picture of your school’s attainment from the last three years, we’re releasing a bundle of our popular Arbor Insight reports exclusively for free. Find out more below or go straight to download your reports here.

In combination with your past performance data, you can look at data from other sources, such as:

  • Any Teacher assessments during lockdown 
  • Centre-assessed teacher predictions for GCSE and A Level
  • School context and demographic information (e.g numbers of Pupil Premium, Free School Meals and Disadvantaged students) 
  • Outcomes of your previous school improvement plans 
  • Previous self evaluations 
  • Findings from any surveys to students during lockdown (e.g. how they experienced working from home). This could provide you with some useful qualitative data on the wellbeing of your students. Wellbeing surveys are working well for The Mead Educational Trust 

Discovering the impact of Covid-19

A big focus of most school improvement plans this year will be how to get students back on track after lockdown. Your Governors will need to understand the impact of partial school closures on students’ learning and wellbeing to help them review your plans for recovery.

To understand the impact of Covid-19 on your students’ attainment, most schools will be performing a new set of baseline tests with students in the first few weeks of term, then comparing these results with where students were at before lockdown. This is where a full and broad evidence of students’ prior performance will help you reliably understand what has changed and set the most effective goals for how to get students back on track.

How Arbor Insight reports can help

Gathering full and reliable prior attainment data could mean lengthy searching through DfE performance tables, and pulling together internal spreadsheets and student records. 

To save you time this term and help you kickstart your school improvement planning, we’re releasing a bundle of our most popular Arbor Insight reports (usually worth £300-400) – exclusively for free.

Created especially for your school, your reports will show you the full picture of your students’ progress and attainment over the last three years, giving you the context you need to see where to focus your efforts this year. 

You can download your reports from your free benchmarking portal – Arbor Insight – used by over 10,000 schools in the UK to dig deeper into their results and benchmark their performance.

Here’s what the reports will help you to achieve:

  • Visualise your students’ progress – Using three-year rolling averages, your reports will help you understand how consistent your performance has been over time and quickly spot any inconsistencies and identify anomalies 
  • Instantly spot attainment gaps – Your reports will help you understand how gaps have emerged between your key demographic groups (such as SEN, Pupil Premium, disadvantaged & EAL) and the school & national averages, so you can better support your most at-risk students post-lockdown
  • Understand the impact of socio-economic factors – Using contextual information about the area your school is in, your reports will help you look at all the factors affecting your students’ attainment 
  • Benchmark your school against others – Your reports benchmark your headline measures against other schools nationally, your LA, Top Quintile schools and similar schools to you, allowing you to put your school’s performance in its wider context 
  • Give your Governors the background they need – Saving you time gathering data, your reports are also presented in easy-to-understand PDFs with colour-coded charts and expert analysis, ready to share at your next Governor meeting

Your reports are waiting for you in your free Arbor Insight benchmarking portal – sign up here and download them today!

Here’s some more detail about each of your reports: 

school-report

progress-report

attainment-gap-report

Next steps

We hope your Arbor Insight reports are helpful in giving you the context you need to get started on your school improvement plan. 

Make sure you look critically at your data in the reports, and ask questions like “Why did these trends happen?” and “Are they typical of our school?” This will help to make sure your decisions are not based on any bias or previous assumptions. Check out our earlier blog for two approaches you can use to challenge your assumptions – 1) the Socratic Approach and 2) Asking “why?” 5 times.

As you move onto drafting your in-year priorities and objectives, question where you are in your current 3-5 year rolling plan: What have you achieved? What’s changed? 

Take a look at some guidance we’ve gathered below on writing an effective plan: 

Interested in finding out how Arbor’s cloud-based MIS can help you work more easily and collaboratively this term? Book a demo today, or join one of our webinars

tellmemore@arbor-education.com | 0208 050 1028

Leave a Reply