Many Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) and schools have been using data more and more over the past few years and this has helped with key strategic decision making, but it is worth taking stock and asking yourself if you are making the most of your data and is it being gathered, compiled and analysed efficiently.
MATs have a vast amount of ‘big data’ that comes from a multitude of sources, is used differently within different teams, is often stored in different places and managed by different people. This can lead to silos and difficulty in having a clear picture and understanding of your data.
It is important to dig into your data and your data processes to get a clear picture of the status quo and leave no stone unturned in the process. Ideally, you want to be able to turn data into a pillar of your MATs overall strategy. This can be done through a Data Audit and Review, which is in principle, a map of all the data your MAT has, where you get that data from, the work that goes into processing and analysing it and the strategic goals it supports.
This isn’t just an audit for audit’s sake, there are five strategic benefits to your MAT:
1. Ensure your data is secure
Data security is important particularly given the data is about children. You will explore if the data is collected, held and processed securely and do you comply with data protection and privacy regulations and have you had any data breaches.
2. Break down silos
Data is often the best, unintentionally, kept secret. With data collected and managed by different people and often kept in different places, it can be difficult to have a single source of truth and identify ways to be more efficient in your MATs data management and operations. A Data Audit and Review will identify all the different sources of data and who needs to use it and so start drawing your data map.
Implementing a Data Warehouse Educational Intelligence system, such as Questa can significantly help to break down silos.
3. Improve data quality
Data quality looks at the completeness of the data, how old it is and where it has come from. It’s important to have a consistent approach across your MAT that gives a clear outline of how the data you collect helps achieve the MATs goals. It’s through this that everyone will be invested in ensuring good data quality.
Everyone that uses data across the MAT need to have confidence in the data quality and accuracy, in order to make key strategic decisions.
4. Ensure the right depth and breadth of data
A Data Audit and Review will Identify areas where you need less data or areas that require a greater depth or breadth of collection to aid strategic decision making. You want to be focussed on collecting and analysing the data that is most relevant to achieving not only the learning outcomes for students but the MATs strategic aims and objectives too.
5. Understand your ‘Big data’
MATs have a plethora of data, from a multitude of different sources such as assessment records, homework achievements, absentee notifications via email, text and phone, positive and negative behaviours, SEND requirements, Pupil Premium identification, finance data, HR records, and much much more– your Trust’s ‘Big data’.
You have set your MATs goals and taking stock of your current data state will help you to understand how you want to use data, where it can come from and how to analyse it to measure and achieve these goals.
If you would like to read more about how to carry out a Data Audit and Review, we’ve written this helpful guide.
A Data Audit and Review will allow you to better understand the data you have, how it is being used by your different teams across the MAT and by developing a clear map of your data and its processes, you will have a clearer picture and a more accurate single source of truth. This single source of truth can lead to better risk mitigation, cost efficiencies and realistic KPI’s that can lead to more accurate decisions that will benefits students and the MAT alike.