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LAs and MATs should no longer request target setting data from schools

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NAHT members have raised concerns with us regarding unreasonable requests for data from Local Authorities and MATs. These include requests for predictions of pupil progress or a requirement for data to be presented in a particular format. 

In the March 2017 School Inspection Update, Ofsted made it clear that inspectors should not ask school leaders to provide predictions for individual pupils or cohorts in upcoming tests or exams.

Despite this, we have been made aware that some LAs and MATs have continued to make requests for such data.

We recently met with officials from the DfE to discuss these concerns. They have confirmed to us that:

  • LAs and MATs are able request data from schools but that it must be proportionate and not place unreasonable burdens on schools.
  • LAs and MATs should not request predictions of pupil or cohort progress scores from schools.

 DfE agreed to consider additional wording in the primary and secondary accountability technical guides which would provide more support for members to challenge LAs/MATs if they are making requests for predictions of attainment or progress.

Today, 13th December, they have published the updated primary guide which you can find here. They have included the following text on page 29 :

Using performance data to predict individual pupils' scores and sharing pupils' progress data

The government response to the Workload Advisory Group report 'Making Data Work', provides advice to schools about the proportionate use of setting predictions or targets for individual pupils to aid teaching. It makes clear that predicting pupils' attainment can sometimes be appropriate, but pupils or their parents need not be routinely told the levels that they 'should' or 'are likely to' achieve at the end of key stages one or two. The group also stated that 'flight paths', where pupils are told the levels they will achieve based on the performance data of pupils with similar starting points in previous years are not valid as a prediction, as they understate the variation in pupil trajectories of development. Schools are not held to account by the Department for pupil targets and predictions, and local authorities or multi-academy trusts should not routinely request such information.

Similarly, schools should not share individual pupil progress scores with pupils or parents. Schools should not try to predict pupil or school level progress scores in advance of official provisional data being available each September. The primary progress scores are an in-year relative measure.

We expect that an update to the secondary version will be made in January when the revised data is also published.

In addition, the Teacher Workload Advisory Group published its report. As part of the report, the group recommended that:

  • “Beyond statutory data collections [the DfE] do not request regular attainment data from schools unless they meet a trigger for intervention. When this is required this should be in the school’s existing format where possible, and should not add to the number of data collections. The DfE should communicate to local authorities, MATs and others that they should not ask for this information either.”
  • “[The DfE] not request data on pupil targets and predictions to hold schools to account. When this is required to allocate support to schools, this should be in the school’s existing format, and should not add to the number of data collections.”
  • “Local authorities and multi academy trusts should not request data on targets and predictions to hold schools to account. Where this is required to enable, for example, providing additional support to schools, this should not be in a different format to the format the school uses, and should not add to the number of data collections.”

In their response, the government have accepted all the recommendations contained within the report and confirmed that they will not request data on pupil targets and predictions to hold schools to account. They have also confirmed that they will communicate to local authorities and multi-academy trusts that they should not request data on targets and predictions to hold schools to account.

These are significant development and we are pleased that the DfE have responded positively to our concerns.  

First published 13 December 2018