Reducing MAT data burdens by Making Data Work

94% of schools are tackling marking workloads; unfortunately, far fewer schools focus on reducing and eliminating the burden of data workloads from teachers. However, data burden accounts for a large portion of school administration and teaching staff’s time while adding little value.

Martin Holyoak

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Because of this, the DfE’s latest focus is on Making Data Work in our schools. This includes trimming back on unnecessary data collection and streamlining tasks that don’t add value to the school day wherever possible – including unnecessary data collection.

Defeating school myths

A lot of this work centres around tackling and defeating Ofsted myths. Consider the ‘coloured pens’ marking myth – that Ofsted requires teachers to complete assessments with a number of different coloured pens.

The fact is, Ofsted was never looking for teachers to spend extra time marking in a rainbow of colours, and they also don’t look for unnecessary data collection.

Instead, the DfE recommends limiting attainment collection points to two or three times a year to eliminate unnecessary data processing. This news comes with a promise from Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds that attainment collection points will be limited to a couple of times a year.

In particular, academy trusts are asked to standardise data processes across the trust to reduce workload. This works to one of the key benefits of trust academisation: an economy of scale. These processes can be centralised by the trust; this leads to a reduction in overall costs. Equally important, it removes the data burden from overstressed teachers and administrative departments while ensuring accuracy and consistency across the board.

“In a number of schools, there are data practices that are not helpful for pupil progress and that increase teacher workload. Schools should question their existing practice to change this.”
Workload Advisory Group report: Making data work

But what do these new centralised processes look like, and how does this work from a practical standpoint?

Centralised administration

The fastest and most cost-effective way for academy trusts to begin centralising their processes is to make good use of cloud software. While schools will always need local admin teams and processes, there are a surprising number of functions that you can perform centrally for the entire trust – if you have the right software.

Cloud software has emerged as a solution to MAT process centralisation. Because any data entered into this software is updated instantaneously at all locations, it’s easy for a staff member in a central location to manage this data on behalf of all member academies.

For example, PS Online hosts PS Financials’ complete data-crunching suite on the cloud, enabling trusts to manage their schools’ PO requests and expenses with ease. What’s more, you can also manage your trust’s assets and human resources from a single location, with complete top-down visibility.

If you’re interested in making data work by migrating to the cloud, contact PS Financials today to discuss implementing PS Online at your MAT.

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