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Climbing and the art of data minimalism

When Reinhold Messner climbed Everest in 1980, solo and without supplemental oxygen, it marked a watershed in the history of climbing. Prior to this extraordinary achievement – previously considered beyond the realms of human possibility – expeditions were huge and complex affairs requiring military logistics. Hundreds of porters would ferry massive loads and establish base […]

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The thorny issue of tracking in Early Years

Tracking in the Early Years Foundation Stage is a mess. We’re not talking about statutory assessment here – of the Reception Baseline and the Foundation Stage Profile. This is about day-to-day data collection, especially across the reception year, for the purpose of monitoring pupil progress. I use the phrase ‘day-to-day’ deliberately because let’s admit it: […]

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What is a tracking system for?

Before I get started answering this question, I want to make one thing clear: I’m not keen on the word ‘tracking’ in the context of school data management. I think it’s slightly sinister and misleading. Tracking is what hunters do; and what the military does with missiles. I think we need a better name. How […]

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A shaggy dog story

Once, whilst out running in the Cotswold Hills, I was approached through the woods by a family with three terriers. Two of the dogs were out in front, jostling for position, neither particularly interested in me; and bringing up the rear several metres behind the family was a much older one, ambling along at his […]

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Ofsted Infographics: a look at inspection outcomes under current and previous frameworks

I’ve recently been posting a series of infographics of Ofsted inspection data on my timeline. This has prompted a lot of discussion so I thought it would be useful to publish them all in one place here. First, here’s a breakdown of the various categories of inspection that have taken place under the new EIF […]

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Why set targets?

There is a concept in urban design known as shared space. It involves the removal of much of the street furniture – signage, painted lines, bollards, traffic lights and barriers – to improve safety. The boundaries between the different zones of use – for pedestrians, bikes, and cars – are blurred, and road users become […]

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Data is not dead

Reports of data’s death have been greatly exaggerated. It’s over a year since Ofsted announced their intention to no longer take the schools’ internal tracking data into consideration during inspections. I wrote this post at the time, outlining my thoughts, and on balance I still think it’s a good idea: it should cause schools to […]

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