School Data Updates

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By James Pembroke / October 18, 2018 / 0 Comments

Here’s a thing. In conversations with senior leaders both online and in the real world, I often get asked about restricting access to data for teaching staff or even locking down tracking systems entirely. This seems to take two broad themes: 1) Limiting a teacher’s access to data that relates only to those pupils for…

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The Progress Delusion

By James Pembroke / September 21, 2018 / 0 Comments

I recently spoke to a headteacher of a primary school judged by Ofsted to be ‘requiring improvement’. The school has been on an assessment journey in the last couple of years, ditching their old tracking system with its ’emerging-developing-secure’ steps and expected progress of three points per year (i.e. levels), in favour of a simpler…

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New year, new direction

By James Pembroke / September 3, 2018 / 3 Comments

I’ve got a new job! After much deliberation I have accepted a position with Equin Ltd, the lovely people behind Insight Tracking. I’ve got to know Sarah and Andrew (directors) very well over the last few years and it’s no secret that I am a big fan of their system, which I’ve recommended to many…

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What I think a primary tracking system should do

By James Pembroke / July 9, 2018 / 4 Comments

I talk and write a lot about the issues with primary tracking systems: that many have reinvented levels, and are often inflexible and overly complicated. Quite rightly this means I get challenged to define what a good system looks like, and it’s a tricky question to answer, but I think I’m getting there now. I’ve…

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VA Calculator: excel version free to download

By James Pembroke / July 9, 2018 / 4 Comments

With KS2 results about to be released on NCA Tools (10th July, 07.30) I thought I’d publish a link to the latest excel version of my VA calculator. This version, with pupil group tables for progress and average scores, can be downloaded here. To use the VA calculator, you will need to download first (it…

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Arm yourself!

By James Pembroke / June 12, 2018 / 5 Comments

A headteacher recently told me she’d been informed by her LA advisor that “only ‘good’ schools can experiment and do what they like when it comes to assessment”. This fallacy has been trotted out so many times now that it has become embedded in the collective consciousness and headteachers have come to accept it. Perhaps…

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In search of simplicity

By James Pembroke / June 9, 2018 / 0 Comments

I’m a climber. Or at least I’d like to be. Back in the day I got out on rock loads, climbing routes all over the UK. From sea cliffs to mountain crags; from deep-wooded valleys to wild moorland edges, I would revel in the light and the textures, the exposure and the fear; and the…

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The changes ahead of us, the changes behind

By James Pembroke / May 31, 2018 / 0 Comments

Stop the world, I’m getting off In the four years since the removal of levels primary schools have had to contend with a staggering amount of change to almost every aspect of the accountability system. No longer are pupils achieving Level 4 or Level 5; now they are described as meeting ‘expected standards’ or achieving…

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Test score upload and progress analysis in Progress Bank/Insight

By James Pembroke / May 4, 2018 / 0 Comments

Andrew Davey at Insight (@insightHQ; has been busy building a very neat, intuitive interface for the quick uploading of standardised test scores into Progress Bank and Insight, and analysis of the data. As stated previously, the aim of Progress Bank is to provide schools with a simple, online system that will capture any standardised…

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5 Things primary governors should know about data. Part 5: pupil groups

By James Pembroke / April 26, 2018 / 2 Comments

This is the 5th and final part in a series of blog posts on data for primary governors. Part 1 covered statutory data collection, part 2 was on sources of data, part 3 explained progress measures, and part 4 dealt with headline measures. In this post we’re going to discuss those all-important pupil groups. When…

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