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Data, data everywhere…..

December 5, 2014

It’s that time of year when targets are being set for the different year  groups in schools.  This is an interesting year as we are in ‘the twilight zone’ as far as assessment and targets are concerned.  See post on ‘Life after Levels‘.  However we as governors still need to do our job as far as holding the school to account.  So what are they things we need to do?  We need to ask how targets are set and then look at these targets so as to assess progress.

When looking for improvement, according to Department for Education’s chief analyst Tim Leunig, there are five key questions to explore with the schools we govern (Questions were obtained from the Schools Improvement Network):

1.      After being on track previously, pupil X is now falling behind. Has something happened to this pupil, and has the school implemented strategies to try to reverse this lower rate of progress?

2.      Classes taught by teacher X appear to be making less progress than those taught by other teachers. Is this teacher too harsh, or are there issues in their teaching that need to be addressed?

3.      Set X in English is making less progress than expected while others taught by the same teacher are doing well. Are a number of disruptive pupils making this class hard to teach and what strategies have been put place to combat this?

4.      Some pupils are doing better than expected. Did the school put anything in place to help achieve this and has it now raised targets for these pupils?

5.      The school claimed that pupil X was on track to achieve a Level 4b, but they ended up with a Level 3. Is there a problem with the way the school is tracking pupil progress? What is being done to improve this?

I think there are numerous others questions we as governors can ask before we focus on individual children but these five questions does give you a flavour of the type of monitoring we should be doing – basically are children progressing as they should be and if not why not and what are we doing about it.  Also we need to make sure that there are also strategies for ‘catching up’ when the required progress in one year has not happened.

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