You can make really efficient data processes within school that don’t actually do anything.
Some senior leaders would laugh if you came into one of our pupil progress meetings. We hold them three times each year. In each meeting the headteacher, deputy and teacher come together to talk about each child’s progress in reading, writing and maths.
Much of the discussion arises from numbers on a sheet, but it is focused on the barriers each child faces and how, as a team, we might overcome those barriers. Sometimes that might involve a conversation between a senior leader and a parent; sometimes bringing in external professionals; sometimes the tweaking of some classroom practice.
I get the impression that at some schools, senior leaders are so concerned about the ‘big picture’ of what the data shows them, that they forget about the details. But the details are called children. And a school where children are just numbers on a sheet of paper is no school at all.
I have to admit, sometimes I can get a little task focused when I’m creating my latest uber-sheet: in this one, I tell myself, the data process will be so efficient it will hardly detract from our time at all.
It’s important to remember, that each number crunched, each set averaged, is just another tool to help teachers with their job: teaching.
I’m speaking at WeTweeted at BETT this Thursday – it would be great to have you there to contribute your thoughts on data too.