School performance data: the basics

Performance data can be overwhelming at first glance, but most governors don't need to know too much detail to do a good job. Get started with our quick guide on what you do and don't need to know about data.

on 23 July 2024
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  1. What you need to know about data
  2. School data can be affected by multiple factors
  3. Where the data comes from
  4. Compare your data to gain insight
  5. How to challenge the data (without being an expert)

What you need to know about data

Your school's headline figures

All governors should know their school's headline numbers on:

  • Attendance
  • Pupil characteristics
  • Pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) and the pupil premium
  • Suspensions and exclusions
  • Pupil attainment and progress – for the school as a whole and any specific pupil groups that receive special focus

Know how to question the data

You also need to know how to interrogate what the data means and be comfortable discussing these figures in board meetings – i.e. what the numbers tell you about your school's strengths and weaknesses. For example: 

  • What's going well
    • For example, whether pupils are making higher than expected progress in a subject
  • What to be concerned about
    • Maybe pupils are performing below the national average in KS2 reading
  • What changes need to be made
    • What's the headteacher's plan for improvement?
  • What the data might mean for productivity and workload
    • Will the school's plans for improvement affect teacher workload?


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