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Junior school VA: It’s all about that base(line)

By James Pembroke / January 9, 2015 / 0 Comments

The following notes relate to some work I’m doing to support a junior school with a bit of a baseline issue. A case of significantly high prior attainment, good KS2 results, and abysmal progress. So, I’ve been trying to build a case for the defense against the duality of the RAISE report – a sort of lush…

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The Emperor’s new tracking system

By James Pembroke / December 17, 2014 / 7 Comments

Those familiar with ‘comment is free’ on The Guardian website will know that nothing divides opinion and generates quite as much vitriol as an article about the latest smartphone. Not even the recent debate on Scottish Independence could compete with the iPhone 6 in terms acrimony. It’s a tribal thing, and I’ve noticed something similar…

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Calculating VA at KS2 beyond levels

By James Pembroke / December 10, 2014 / 0 Comments

Understandably there is a great deal of confusion about how the DfE can calculate VA once the current assessments are replaced in 2016 with new tests that give scaled scores. But we know that a VA measure will exist – it will be centred on 0 rather than 100 – and will be one of…

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Mind the gap! The devilish detail in the RAISE closing the gap report

By James Pembroke / November 5, 2014 / 0 Comments

On the face of it, it looks like an improvement. The closing the gap report in last year’s RAISE seemed like an afterthought and once you’d been through the main report you knew it all anyway. I never really saw the point in it. But this year it’s changed: 3 year trends for expected and…

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Without feathers? My LA swan song.

By James Pembroke / October 29, 2014 / 0 Comments

So, that’s that then. Today was my last day working at Gloucestershire LA after nearly 5 years of wading neck deep in data; supporting schools, battling Ofsted, and trying not to make a nuisance of myself but generally failing. It’s been quite an experience being on the frontline of school improvement during this most challenging…

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The Good of Small Things

By James Pembroke / October 9, 2014 / 1 Comment

I recently sent out a tweet asking for thoughts and experiences relating to small schools, particularly regarding data. Now, I could have written a lengthy, and probably rather dull, blog on the subject of data and small schools but instead I thought I’d just publish the following email, which perfectly and succinctly summarises the problems…

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Improving school improvement: how LAs use FFT to support and challenge schools

By James Pembroke / September 23, 2014 / 6 Comments

Despite the reduction in scale and scope of local authority education services over the past few years, their school improvement remit remains. LAs have a responsibility to support and challenge schools, to intervene where necessary and to help drive up standards; the aim being for all pupils to have access to a good standard of…

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2B or not 2B, that is the question

By James Pembroke / September 16, 2014 / 9 Comments

I’ve visited a number of schools in the past couple of weeks and nearly all of them intend to continue tracking with levels for all cohorts for this term at least (fine for years 2 and 6, of course). This doesn’t surprise me – it’s the comfort of the familiar – but it’s a bodge…

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No attainment gaps please, we’re intelligent.

By James Pembroke / September 5, 2014 / 0 Comments

If there’s one phrase I hear in the course of my professional life that’s guaranteed to result in my forehead colliding with a desk multiple times in quick succession (or wall if I’m standing up), it’s ‘attainment gaps’, especially if it’s preceded by the words ‘can you provide me with some….’ and followed by a question…

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Attack of the Clones: are data people trying to replace levels with levels?

By James Pembroke / August 27, 2014 / 3 Comments

A couple of days ago the opening salvos of a war between good and evil were fired across the vast expanses of the Edutwitterverse. From their distant quantitative system of darkness, the number crunching legions of the Evil Empire of Analysis were positioning their Data Death Star in orbit around the peaceful and progressive Moon…

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