Year 7 Progress
Managing workload is always a central part of our discussions as a senior leadership team, and whilst we may not have got everything right, I know that our expectations regarding in-year data collection perfectly meet the advice given by the national working party report on teacher workload. We ask for three progress reports a year and no written comments and we had moved to this in advance of any workload recommendations. The most challenging and important part of any data collection cycle is working out how best to use the information we receive. We have now moved to the following approach, which we trialed with the most recent Year 7 reports.
1. Data is inputted by staff with a strict collection window. Departments work to ensure data is accurate and moderated amongst teams.
2. Our talented data team prepare a series of questions from the data analysis; questions that are posed at school, department, class and student level.
3. Senior staff, the Data Manager and Head of Year will then meet to discuss the questions and decide on a series of activities in response – this could include meetings with students, parents and staff, further levels of data analysis, lesson visits, line management meeting discussions with heads of department, work sampling or learning walks.
4. Two weeks later the team meet again to review the outcome of the investigative activities and agree on further actions. The impact of any actions will then be reviewed in the next data collection cycle.
In response to our Year 7 Progress data this week we undertook a range of activities. I met nine students with high prior attainment, whose progress had slowed between their first and second reports. Students were able to highlight a range of individual, personal targets they need to improve on, as well as providing me with really useful information that we can consider as a school. For example, students said that the issuing of merits and rewards in lessons has slowed, that occasionally they feel their home learning isn’t acknowledged by all staff and that for a few individuals serving detentions with older students has a negative impact on their conduct. They also highlighted some fantastic lessons that they are making positive progress in.
Senior leaders also used the data to discuss issues in line management meetings and visit classes where questions were identified as a result of the data analysis. This has helped us realise that one of our bands needs to be taught in a slightly different way to the others. We will use this information to share expertise with colleagues to support their teaching.
The discussions have also allowed us to consider how student support workers can be most effective in lessons. Our support workers add huge capacity to our pastoral team and work incredibly hard. Now that we have expanded their team we are hoping their positive impact will also be felt in the classroom.
Data doesn’t give us the answers, but when it is carefully analysed it can provide us with valuable lines of enquiry we will use to help improve our school.