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In November, I was working with The Grange Primary in North Lincs. We were discussing the most robust way to report progress.

The school were wanting to set individual targets based on prior attainment. My response was a simple one, “That’s easy, use our Termly Targets feature”.

So we got to work on recording these targets. The SLT told me how they set targets and we started entering the data. Whilst I was helping them do this, I found out what a massively onerous task it was. I knew then that we needed to build a tool that would help you record these targets much easier and much faster.

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We needed your advice

When we originally released the Termly Targets feature, we thought (assumed actually!) that it would be a tool for teachers. As it turns out, I’ve since found out that it’s mostly SLT that record the pupils’ targets.

I asked for feedback from our users… and I got it! Within 24 hours I had received over 250 emails telling me how the feature was used and how long it took to set targets.

What have we done about it?

After reading all the emails, we discussed the best way to meet the majority of schools needs, and our Application Development team got to work. I have to say, it was far easier for me to explain what was needed than it was for our Devs to actually build the new tool. But we like a challenge :).

We’re now ready to show you what we’ve done. We’re sure you’ll love it because it will make recording targets much, much (much) quicker.

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As you may know, when we released the newer version of OTrack we made a significant change to the EYFS tracker. This was really welcomed by many users, but it hasn’t been popular with others.

The change I’m talking about is the removal of a code between Secure at 40-60+ and meeting the ELG.

The good news is if you’re not a fan of this change we can re-add the extra code if you need it. If you don’t want that extra code, don’t worry, this won’t affect your tracker.

I’ll explain a little further...

In the old OTrack you used to have these codes available towards the latter end of the EYFS code set:

  • 40-60 B
  • 40-60 D
  • 40-60 S
  • ELG B
  • ELG D
  • ELG S

The default codes in the new version of OTrack are:

  • 40-60 B
  • 40-60 D
  • 40-60 S
  • G (meaning a pupil understands the ELG)
  • E (meaning a pupil is exceeding the ELG)

Some schools contacted us to say they felt that they need a code between ’40-60 S’ and ‘G’ so they can report progress. We can now update your EYFS tracker to have the following:

  • 40-60 B
  • 40-60 D
  • 40-60 S
  • W (meaning a pupil is working towards understanding the ELG)
  • G
  • E

If you want this extra code adding to your OTrack account please email support@optimumotrack.co.uk

Reading time: approx 2 minutes, 55 seconds (739 words).

Find out how we helped reduce staff workload, so they could spend more time on teaching and learning.

How we reduced workload

As with any ‘tracking review’ session, the first thing Joanne and I looked at was the codes that were being used. This is always the best place to start. We could have looked at learning objectives first, but we’d come to that later!

1) Teacher Assessment Codes

Joanne showed me the 7 codes, and their descriptors. They were a common set of codes, ones that I’ve seen used many times:

  • B for ‘Below standards’,
  • Three codes dedicated to showing progress, as a pupil is ‘Working towards standards’,
  • Then a further three codes for ‘At standards’, ‘Mastery’ and ‘Exceptional’.

These codes weren’t a major issue. But the time spent on working out which of the codes to use, for each pupil was. Staff were calculating the percentage of learning objectives that were understood. Then using that percent, they worked out which of the 7 codes each pupil should be in each subject.

Joanne wanted to consider a Point In Time Assessment model (PITA). We discussed using 3 codes to identify ‘Working towards standards’, ‘Working at expected standards’ and ‘Greater Depth’.

Teachers’ would ask “based on what I’ve taught to date, has the pupil understood what we’ve covered?”

  • If the answer is “some of it”, then record a WT
  • If it’s “yes”, then record an EX
  • If a pupil needed more challenging tasks etc, then enter GD.

We scrutinised the method to make sure it would work for Joanne and her team. After considering all needs, we found that this worked great for Thorngumbald.

There’s more to PITA than the above, but I want to keep this article short…

Book a free online tracking review session to see how we can help you reduce workload too

2) Learning Objectives

Joanne’s school were tracking objectives using an amended version of the national curriculum, with objectives for Reading, Writing and Maths only. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? But when we looked closer it soon became a concern. Here’s an example of the work we did:

  • There are 209 learning objectives in the year 6 curriculum
  • There are 36 pupils in year 6
  • If each pupil moved from ‘not understanding’ to ‘showing signs of understanding’ to ‘understood’ in each objective, that would be 3 assessments to record through the year.

So, (209 objectives x 36 children) x 3 assessment outcomes = 22,572. That’s 22,572 boxes that the year 6 teacher has to click each year!

Some pupils may jump from ‘not understanding’ straight to ‘understood’ within a term. Not all will, but some will. Let’s assume however that all will:

(209 objectives x 36 children) x 2 assessment outcomes = 15,048. That’s still a massive data entry task for the teacher.

When we applied this to the entire school, we found that over 90,000 assessments would need to be recorded in a single academic year. We knew we had to address this problem somehow.

“The sign of a good pupil tracker is when you’re not using it much. I’ve got that now. Our staff can login, record data, get the analysis they need and get out, fast! This means more time to spend on planning, and of course teaching and learning.”

Joanne Carroll, Headteacher at Thorngumbald Primary School.

Looking at books

With the introduction of the PITA model, and with an understanding of the time spent recording objective level data, we decided to explore if there was any need to commit so much time to data entry.

Recording and reviewing pupils’ gaps in learning is vital for great planning. The teachers’ at Thorngumbald already had a great system in place for this. They stuck learning objectives into pupils’ workbooks. Then, when a teacher saw that a pupil had understood an objective, they highlighted it. Simple, effective and child-inclusive.

That was the ‘nail in the coffin’ for the electronic recording of objective level data. And welcoming news for staff!

The way forward

Thorngumbald now uses a simple PITA model for tracking attainment and progress. Teachers’ record assessments for 3 subjects, 3 times a year. That’s significantly less than 90,000 boxes to click.

“Teachers’ record and analyse assessments with ease, and senior management still have access to the data we need. It’s makes so much more sense now.”

Joanne Carroll

The work that Joanne and I did has guaranteed less pupil tracking and more teaching and learning. That benefits everyone in school!

Book a free online tracking review session to see how we can help you reduce workload too

Further reading

[1] – What is a Point In Time Assessment model?

Our termly report pack is designed to save you time in school. We compile all your Y1 to Y6 Teacher Assessment Summative data and send it to you in one easy-to-read PDF pack.

“I used to pull data from different reports, now I use the OTrack Summative Analysis pack. It saves me hours of time, and my Governors love it too. They know where the school is performing well, and where we need to focus our attention.”

Debra Warren, Principal, Manor Green Primary Academy, Manchester

Download a sample analysis pack now

How do I order?

Please note: this is an extra service to your OTrack licence and so it comes with an extra charge. Please see the ‘How much does it cost?’ info below. All the data in this pack is available in OTrack, so the additional charge is for the time it takes us to compile the data for you.

Complete the order form here

How much does it cost?

The prices below are an introductory price and may change in future terms.

You can order these packs for all terms or one, or two, or three etc – it’s completely up to you. Let us know by ordering, using the button above.

Primary Schools: £75 per term
Junior Schools: £60 per term
Infant Schools: £45 per term

When will I get my report?

When you complete the order form, tell us the date you want the pack sending. We will send the PDF pack to you on that date.

Reading time: approx 2 minutes, 30 seconds (480 words).

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We’re keen followers of education bloggers, not least the School Data Updates author James Pembroke, we really value his opinion in the primary school education sector.

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In partnership with our GDPR consultants and legal team, we have carefully scrutinised the GDPR, and we’ve taken the necessary steps to identify where we needed to comply and where any changes needed to be made.

We are pleased to announce that all our processes and technologies are documented and compliant with the GDPR, our staff have been trained and we have released our new legal documents. You can view these documents by using the button below.

View our GDPR documents

Here at OTrack we believe that our software should give you the time to have those meaningful conversations – and time to put plans in place to improve the lives of young people.
If you’re spending hours pulling data together from different academies and having to use a calculator, then we can help.

“People were tracking their data in different ways, now – thanks to OTrack – we get ca get analysis for all different contextual groups at the click of a button”

Glyn Bishop, Senior School Improvement Officer at Waterton Academy Trust

See how it works

Many schools, one central point

It is possible to bring together data from all your academies, even if they are using different tracking models and theories. Many of our MATs however prefer to use the same methodology across the board, giving full consistency to their reporting.

We build OTrack around you

Regardless of how you track in your academies – we can easily configure OTrack to meet your exact needs. We’ll consult with you about how you want to analyse performance against age related expectations and expected progress. Our dedicated report development team will ensure that you never use spreadsheets and calculators again.

“The Maltby Academy Trust customised reports are so useful for identifying year groups and other contextual groups that may need more support, they also give me and schools senior management essential analysis for reporting to governors and to the trust”.

David Horrigan – Executive Principal at Maltby Learning Trust

Introducing the MAT Dashboard

Our brand-new MAT Dashboard is now being used across many Multi-Academy Trusts and enables trust executives to quickly analyse data from one academy to another. The filters allow easy access to year groups and contextual groups to facilitate the sharing of best practice at the touch of a button.

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