Use of Data at Riverside Primary Academy
Data is used in all schools to evaluate where children’s abilities lie. We all have an array of electronic files and paper spreadsheets with endless important pupil data to show how well our children are progressing. Knowing exactly where your children’s abilities lie and what comes next in their learning journey is key to pupil progress with all groups of children. Everyone knows that, but not everyone communicates that knowledge to everyone who needs to know it.
A few years ago, our Teaching Assistants were invited to take part in the pupil progress meetings we had previously only held with teaching staff. They listened very carefully as the Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and teachers discussed a wide range of interpretations of our collated data; looking at progress between key stages, progress within groups and most importantly, identifying the gaps in attainment to be closed. Plans were put in place for each child who had not made expected progress and also for those children who had made expected progress but had shown the potential to exceed. The teaching assistants were astonished at the level of detail that was discussed and the subsequent reviewing of staffing that would be needed to accommodate the necessary intervention for the children who had been identified.
During the next pupil progress meeting, every Teaching Assistant had their own valuable contributions to make and opinions to give. They had become an essential cog in the machinery which turned data on spreadsheets into the real outcomes within the classroom; they had become part of the culture of successful progress.
It is true to say, the knowledge of our staff regarding the use of tracking data has increased over time. But, the significance of the contributions that could be made by our Teaching Assistants was only recognised in hindsight. Had I realised the value in their participation earlier, I certainly would have included them in the process years ago.
We have recently been told that, during a discussion relating to pupil progress, an HMI inspector initially found it difficult to differentiate between the Teaching Assistant and the Teacher. Each of them contributed to the discussion equally and with good knowledge of the data and the next steps of learning. As Headteacher, I can only say I am proud of the shared drive we have in pupil progress in our school and that the contributions of the whole school team is what ensures children reach their potential.
Riverside Primary Academy