Over the last 12 months, with the preparation and then the subsequent launch of the new Ofsted framework, the pros and cons of data in schools has been deliberated long and hard; which is why the FFT Education Data Lab and Teacher Tapp research report is so fascinating, offering a glimpse into the data collection habits of schools.  In the introduction from the Managing Director of FFT Education talks about, ‘The culture or some might say ‘cult’ of data use in schools-the ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘who’ of data decision making-has long fascinated us’.  The report looks at how data is used in schools today, a systematic, national review of data use in schools, which enables leaders to reflect on how they use data in their own contexts and how it can be used positively. There are some fascinating insights, which are reported, including the accuracy of data collections, particularly at KS3; sixty-three per cent of primary schools with the highest proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals requested half-termly or more frequent data, compared with 39 per cent of those with the lowest proportion.  The survey found 54 per cent of classroom teachers, 52 per cent of middle leaders, 41 per cent of senior leaders and 21 per cent of headteachers believed data collection “should be less frequent than is current practice”.

The other obsession with the new framework has been the importance of curriculum design, the ability of all leaders to shape and own the curriculum and that the overall quality of education (including outcomes) is linked directly to the quality of curriculum design.  Therefore, it was refreshing to attend the Annual Netley Campus Exhibition, where the school opens its doors to the school community, to show case their learning. The theme this year was about, ‘It’s our world’ and the key message that change starts with us. The pupils at Netley are always so impressive, speaking knowledgeably and passionately about the sequence of their learning, the importance of what they have learned and how they will use it in their life. I left with many highlights, but amongst them were the impressive Robson House pupils, who had created their own town, Brickton (love Lego), working with budgets, creating facilities and overseeing important governance decisions. Also in Year 6, where they created art cityscapes of the mean, hard, ugly city- before then changing it and gradually transforming it into a beautiful, colourful and happy place to live after the planting of seeds.

Next Thursday we have the Primary Breakfast meeting at 8.00am, followed by the Head teachers consultative meeting-please note that both these meetings are being held in the Council Chambers, at the Crowndale Centre.  On the agenda for the Heads, briefing is an update from Nick Smith and Richard Lewin on Place Planning and Christine Gilbert will be joining us to provide an update on curriculum development ideas and next steps.

Please find attached the Secondary Breakfast briefing, which took place during the week.

Finally, please hold the 26th and 27th March 2020 for the annual Head teacher’s conference, which is going to take place at Jury’s Inn, Brighton. We already have booked the impressive Christine Counsell and Becky Allen confirmed as speakers.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning

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