Education Observatory

Research in Education at the University of Wolverhampton

Using data effectively

This summary outlines how three of the schools in our research use data effectively to support pupil premium students, policy and interventions and offers some detail on the approaches they employ. While there has long been consensus that using data effectively to inform decision-making at all levels of the school system is important in school improvement, there is much less agreement about how the large amounts of data held by schools should be used (Schildkamp, 2019).

Therefore, it was not surprising that data management and analysis emerged as an important aspect of how the schools in the research support pupil premium students. Here we describe how schools manage data systematically; overcome barriers to learning; and use data to share responsibility for all students.

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Key messages

  • Contextualised analysis and use of data is an important part of how schools integrate their support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds into a whole school approach. 
  • Many schools take a systematic approach to data analysis, in which analysis of pupil premium spend and support is used to evaluate the impact of interventions, support teaching and learning, and identify barriers for all students early. 
  • Careful data management can also be used to foster a culture of equity and sharing responsibility for supporting all students, as well as reducing teacher workload.