We’ve worked with a lot of schools over many years and can see clearly when MATs are heading to a point where their data is getting out of control. In our experience, there are three pinch points that could easily tip a good data management process into a chaotic one if not handled carefully:
- Your MAT is entering into a period of rapid growth and change. As a multi-academy trust you take on new academies at a pace dictated by the ESFA. The time frames are largely outside your hands. Therefore, quite often you may find yourselves in the position of taking on academies in rapid succession. Clearly your initial focus must be educational needs, and not on aligning systems and processes. However this can result in data being misaligned, ignored or completely forgotten. Think Big. Think Ahead.
- New schools are joining your MAT - each with their own systems. When schools transition to academies and join your trust, they join with their own way of doing things. Your trust might choose to dictate a trust-wide standard which can streamline processes and reduce costs. However, academies are made up of people and people have preferences. There might also be budget implications. So also plan ahead for all these scenarios.
- Your schools have too many solutions. Too many ‘silos’. Schools are often faced with problems which need solutions; schools may buy software to help them. This can happen over and over until schools end up with multiple solutions, some of them not being used to their full potential. Also data systems may be ‘hidden’ from other staff within the academy or across the trust and effectively keeping data in ‘silos’. You may find cost savings in having shared ownership of systems.
A System and Data Review will give you a clear picture of what you have and how you are using it. Getting the best use from data held within your MAT and School systems, by extracting information and populating one single point of truth, will ultimately benefit everyone.
We’ve written a Briefing Note to help schools and MATs to recognise and address these three common pitfalls in the management and control of data. To download a copy of this Novatia Note, please click below.