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Intelligent accountability: putting data at the heart of the classroom

minsthorpe-with-dataray-henshaw-250Ray Henshaw, Principal, Minsthorpe Community College, writes…

Minsthorpe Community College is a large 11-19 academy (since 2011), and was judged ‘good’ by Ofsted in 2014, with an overall trend of upward performance giving us confidence in the outcome of the Section 8 inspection that is due in 2016-17.

A great deal of our success can be attributed to how we use data. Many schools are data rich: but the key factor is to organise data to allow easy access and analysis.

We measure what we value – not the other way around. Our comprehensive data system has been featured at a number of SSAT conferences, for three main reasons.

  • It empowers the staff who use it.
  • It provides useful information at the individual student level.
  • That information is used by teachers, subject leaders and senior leaders to support progress.

Over 100 schools now use the Minsthorpe system and we are developing a complementary system with our primary feeder schools that will enable us to monitor student progress all the way from key stage 1 to key stage 5.

System enables tracking of individual students’ progress

At the college, targets set for students are appropriately challenging and tracked at regular intervals through this very effective system. It provides clear analysis of the progress of both individual students and groups.

This accurate information is the backbone that drives teachers’ planning for delivering lessons. The college is getting better and better at accurately predicting its results – which resulted in an extremely accurate prediction of our GCSE performance in 2016.

In a series of articles we aim to show how we have put data at the heart of the classroom and created intelligent accountability, which puts a wealth of understandable and useful data in the hands of the user.

Sharing our experiences

Over the coming months we hope to share some of our experiences and outline the impact that the data system has had on learning and teaching, and student progress. These articles will show how the data system is being used to enhance transition at every level from KS2-5 and is adapting to the uncertainties of life after levels and Progress and Attainment 8.

Expert practitioners at the college will be sharing effective practice and top tips. They will show how the intelligent and appropriate use of data can:

  • enhance the pastoral system
  • reveal patterns of underperformance
  • reduce staff workload
  • improve student progress and attainment.

The effective use of data has enabled us to get a better picture of how to improve learning for all students. The key to this has been the gathering, intersecting and organisation of many different types of data into a user-friendly format that results in proactive intervention at every level in the college.

Minsthorpe’s next article will be published in the second week of October.

Some Minsthorpe information

The great majority of Minsthorpe students are of white British heritage; few speak English as an additional language. The proportion of students known to be eligible for free school meals is above the national average and a well above average proportion of students are disabled or have special educational needs, most of which relate to behavioural issues or moderate learning difficulties. The college serves communities in South Elmsall, South Kirby and Upton, Wakefield. The college also leads the Yorkshire Three Counties Teaching Alliance, which involves 9 other secondary schools delivering school-centred initial teacher training.

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