The Department for Education (DfE) has kicked off its publication of 2019 performance tables this autumn (17 October 2019) with provisional accountability measures for secondary schools in England. More national data sets are due to follow in December, January and March.

So how, as an Education leader, can you make best use of all this data?  Can you really use the strategy of benchmarking to improve both administrative processes and instructional models by examining those at other schools and multi-academy trusts (MATs) and adapting their techniques?

shutterstock_575280577- Benchmarking for School Improvement (original medium size)

Let's now take a closer look at data benchmarking and how you can use it to help make positive changes at your school or MAT. 

Why use national benchmarking?

Benchmarking against national data sets will provide you with a range of external criteria against which you can compare you own institution’s performance.  Used correctly, benchmarking can be an effective method of self-evaluation for schools, colleges and MATs.

Read the Note:   Benchmarking for School Improvement

What type of national data sets are available?

A wide range of national data is accessible, both at school/MAT-level as well as pupil-level.

Reported measures include: pupil attainment & progress, statutory assessments, public examinations, Ofsted ratings, attendance, authorised and unauthorised absence, rate of exclusions, pupil data re local socio-economics, workforce & finance and MAT/Sponsor performance.

Characteristics can be filtered by location, as well as other sub-groups such as pupil premium ratio/SEN ratio/EAL ratio/Free School Meals.

How can you effectively scrutinise different levels of data?

Analyse School Performance (ASP) is the DfE’s analytical system for reporting school performance data and can be accessed by key personnel via a secure login. 

However, many leaders, especially those at MATs where multiple schools are involved, prefer to invest in a suitable data analytics tool, bespoke to their own institution’s requirements. This allows you to easily and quickly access, analyse and compare data - rather than struggling with multiple interfaces and software to then still have to create a 'whole picture.'

To help make data analytics on a Trust and school level easier, we developed Questa data analytics  especially for MATs and schools.  Amongst a wide range of data, our 100% cloud-based service also incorporates a range of national data sets. 


Questa’s fully automated dashboards and analytics provide up-to-date intelligence, enabling MAT leaders to compare/contrast the performance of every school, subject, teacher and student across all the schools in their academy trust – in just one multi-layered view. 

How do you use your findings to make improvements?

Benchmarking provides valuable evidence which helps to inform strategic decisions, helping to identify where opportunities for improvement may reside. 

It can also support evaluation of new initiatives as well as the sharing of best practice nationally. Ultimately, it contributes to giving you facts at your finger tips to make decisions that will impact lives.

Other useful resources: 

The DfE's 2019 Statement of Intent

Current timetable for 2019 performance tables on the DfE’s website, Find and Compare Schools and Colleges in England:

  • primary performance measures for schools and MATs – December 2019 
  • secondary performance measures for schools, colleges and MATs – January 2020 
  • 16-to-18 performance measures for schools, colleges and MATs – January and March 2020
  • provisional secondary performance measures to help inform parental choice of secondary schools - October 2019.

Can you really afford to be missing out on seeing the bigger picture?

Contact us now to find out more about how you can use national data sets to help deliver educational improvement at your school, college or MAT.  We offer a full range of data management services, including data and digital security audits, and would be happy to discuss any of your Education ICT requirements.

Click here now to book your FREE Questa Demo.


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