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Last updated on 5 June 2018
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Rigorously analysing pupil progress to hold senior leaders to account is a key responsibility for governing boards. Download our list of questions to ask senior leaders to help you feel confident in scrutinising your school's pupil progress data.


What sources of data do we use?

Sources could include:

  • School’s own data
  • Analyse School Performance (ASP)
  • Department for Education (DfE) performance tables
  • Third-party data analysis providers e.g. Fischer Family Trust

How is progress amongst pupil groups? What does good progress look like in the school? Are some individuals or groups making better progress than others?

Responses should refer to evidence from data. This could be broken down for different subjects and key groups such as:

  • Pupils with special educational needs
  • Pupils with English as an additional language
  • Pupil premium/disadvantaged pupils
  • More able/gifted and talented pupils

What is the progress made by pupils compared to all pupils nationally and pupils with similar prior attainment?

  • Responses should refer to evidence from historic data taken from ASP, DfE performance tables or third-party providers

Are there any barriers to pupil progress? If so, what are we doing about these?

Responses may refer to:

  • Relevant targets highlighted in the school improvement plan
  • Interventions that are in place
  • CPD opportunities planned to address any areas for improvement

Can we explain patterns/trends in pupil progress? For example, can we explain why progress is better in maths than in reading?

  • Responses will be specific to your school’s context
  • Senior leaders should analyse trends and may draw upon historic data to help explain the reasons for trends/patterns
  • Responses should provide reassurance that any negative trends/patterns are being addressed.

How do staff use pupil progress data to target improvements?

  • You should be taken through how staff do this, from recording progress made during lessons to reporting this at the end of each term/half term
  • The level of detail should be enough to help you feel confident that data is accurate

How often do staff report to parents on pupil progress and in what format?

  • The school should be meeting statutory requirements by sending an annual written report to parents on their child’s attainment and progress
  • You may be shown an example of a report

Do we need to ensure professional development and training is in place so teachers have the necessary skills to help pupils meet the target?

  • If the response is yes, seek assurance that CPD and training is being planned and its impact will be monitored
  • If the response is no, seek assurance that staff have the support and resources to help pupils to meet their targets

Downloadable version

If you prefer, we've put the above questions and example answers into a downloadable document with space for you to take notes. 

What data should you have access to?

Your board must have access to objective, high quality and timely data to be able to know the questions it needs to ask senior leaders about pupil progress.

Find out more about what data sources you can use and how to interrogate data in another article.

Different ways to monitor progress 

Find out more about the different ways you can monitor pupil progress with advice from one of our governance experts in another article. 

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