Yesterday (15th January) the Workload Reduction Taskforce released their initial recommendations. If you are not up to speed with who this and what they are for, they are a group put together by the government in September 2023 to make recommendations to the government, Ofsted and school and trust leaders on how to reduce teacher and leader workload, specifically in relation to marking, planning and data management.

The initial recommendations from the Taskforce includes a requirement to also that the secretary of state, leadership unions and other bodies should remind schools of the importance of the recommendations from the 2016 independent workload review groups and the content of the 2018 Workload Advisory Group’s report ‘Making Data Work. Let’s have a look at what that means in practice for schools and trusts

In regard to data, the 2016 Workload Review voiced concern that ‘too often, the collection of data becomes an end in itself, divorced from the core purpose of improving outcomes for pupils, increasing the workload of teachers and school leaders for little discernible benefit.’

They recommended that schools should:

  • Be streamlined: eliminate duplication – ‘collect once, use many times’
  • Be ruthless: only collect what is needed to support outcomes for children.
  • The amount of data collected should be proportionate to its usefulness. Always ask why the data is needed.
  • Be prepared to stop activity: do not assume that collection or analysis must continue just because it always has
  • Be aware of workload issues: consider not just how long it will take, but whether that time could be better spent on other tasks

In a nutshell, there is no point collecting data for data’s sake. If the collection and analysis of assessment data isn’t leading to impact in the classroom, and enabling improvement in attainment and progress for individual students there is no point in collecting or analysing it.

So why are we at Educater writing about this? Well, the data management strand of this is something we are aware of and as a result we ensure that our systems help simplify assessment monitoring processes, and provide powerful reports that can support teaching and learning, and school improvement, without draining valuable teaching time.

If you would like to find out more about how Educater could make data management and analysis easier in your school, get in touch with us to arrange a meeting.

“Making sure that data is used well will, I believe, help to drive down teacher workload. … schools have been increasingly expected to break pupil data down by ever smaller groups to analyse performance. Let me be clear again, we do not expect to see 6 week tracking of pupil progress and vast elaborate spreadsheets.”

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector for Schools, June 2018

Our aim is for teachers to be happy to enter assessment data into Educater because they understand that they inform intervention and action not only in their subject but across the board, that the analysis supports their teaching by enabling them to quickly see where there are strengths and weaknesses, and helps them formulate a plan of action. And because the data input is quick and easy, they get maximum benefit from minimum effort!

An example of the Gaps In Learning Report from Educater's Assessment Tracker

About the author

Becky St.John

Becky St.John

Becky is a school assessment and performance data specialist passionate about helping schools and multi academy trusts use data effectively to improve outcomes. She started out as data manager in a large secondary school, and this eventually led to a role as principal consultant for SISRA Ltd, supporting 1,600 schools across the UK in the management and analysis of their assessment data and exam results through consultancy and training.

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