As Head of Department you’re already juggling a team of teachers, several classes of students and pressure from above – getting to grips with your data might feel like a time-intensive, stressful, tedious task on an endless to-do list. We’ve been there.
In this blog post about the advantages of using a tracker over a spreadsheet, I discussed the stress and anxiety I experienced as a teacher when I didn’t have a tracking system that allowed me to easily see the big picture, to drill down into the details, and to think and plan strategically to improve student outcomes. I know there are still teachers in the same place as I was, living in fear of the unknown when it comes to the summer exam series and how their students are performing in relation to school targets.
Whether we like it or not, we’ve moved to a new age in teaching where accountability has cranked up a notch... or seven! Teacher stress and anxiety related to attainment targets is well-documented and keenly felt across the country. Believe me, I’ve been there: Head Teacher in front of me, Vice Principal to my right, Chair of Governors to my left, Reservoir Dogs soundtrack playing in my head, being subtly reminded that I’m currently only on a one year contract. Then, leaving the meeting to have four million things running through my brain as to how we can’t have the same thing happen again with the current Year 11 cohort, and then the whole cycle of stress beginning just two days into the new school term.
The new Ofsted framework has again sparked debate and heated discussion, but on the whole teachers are considering it to be a step in the right direction. It focuses on delivering a meaningful curriculum and encourages the use of meaningful data when tracking and monitoring progress.
The finalised version of the new Ofsted Framework has now been published, which will govern all school visits from September.
The focus on the way internal data is used in schools has dramatically changed. The intentions behind the changes show that Ofsted has taken onboard the advice from Workload Advisory Group Report, and are now asking more powerful questions “about whether schools’ attainment data collections are proportionate, represent an efficient use of school resources, and are sustainable for staff.”
One of the drivers that led me to leave the teaching profession and start Pupil Progress was that I could see the impact an effective tracking and monitoring system would have on my students’ outcomes and my ability to support teachers in my team and do my job as a Head of Faculty.
There’s no denying that it’s a difficult time for everyone involved in education right now, and that schools are under extreme pressure to produce results. We all know this, we all feel it. Our teachers and school leaders are living and breathing this pressure every day.