May 2022 edition: Why we Must Harness the Power of Real-time Data Across School Trusts

Why we Must Harness the Power of Real-time Data Across School Trusts

The Queen’s speech earlier this month set out ambitious plans for supporting every school to become part of a School Trust by 2030. The Schools Bill confirms proposals set out in the Schools White Paper to move towards a ‘family of schools’ model as part of attempts to level up standards.

As Trusts increase in size i.e. the number of students, staff and physical sites, it will be more important than ever to ensure leaders have the essential, centralised data and insight needed to improve the life chances of students and create positive working environments for staff.

However, for many Trusts, clunky legacy technology stacks and disparate systems are disruptive. They stand in the way of leaders getting the real-time insight they need to make informed decisions for the good of staff, students and the Trust. Exacerbating this problem, adopting cloud technology has been an uphill battle, leaving teachers and Trust-level staff as the victims of endless admin work and siloed data.

In today’s digital-first, real-time world, cloud-based tools are a necessity for educators who want to be more productive and engage in meaningful, impactful work. The time is now to harness the power of real-time data across Trusts.

Trusts' tech is hampering performance

As Trusts grow the number of staff and students, and spread out further geographically, school systems and processes that can cope with the size and scale of a modern Trust are a necessity.

The time taken to export and process data from different sites acts as a major blocker to Trust improvement. MATs are often left to manually centralise data to create meaningful insights, taking critical time away from what matters most – enhancing students' opportunities in life. In fact, research has revealed that 44% of teachers and school leaders did not have apps to capture work and assessments and only 39% had the capacity for parents to view student data.

Trusts are both data-rich and poor. Data-rich because Trust leaders receive countless reporting requests from the multiple schools. However, due to disparate systems, these take weeks to create and so by definition the insight within them is already out of date when leaders get round to reading them. Without live and accurate centralised data, Trusts are actually data-poor. It's virtually impossible to assess the impact of changes such as a new attendance policy or rewards and sanctions system.

What's needed is a razor-sharp focus on implementing effective, user-friendly EdTech to help Trust leaders navigate changes today and tomorrow through centralised data, so they can make the best decisions for each pupil, school and teacher.

Real-time insights help Trusts become top of the class

Harnessing cloud technology and the real-time intelligence that it provides will benefit everyone in the long run. It offers a simple way to see the scope of need across all schools. As growth continues, MATs will have a surplus of data that only real-time analysis and centralisation will help turn into actionable insight. Without this actionable insight, leaders won’t be able to make the best-informed decisions and Trusts’ reputations could be damaged.

...for many Trusts, clunky legacy technology stacks and disparate systems are disruptive. They stand in the way of leaders getting the real-time insight they need to make informed decisions for the good of staff, students and the Trust.

Simon Freeman

The real-time insight cloud software gives leaders a holistic picture of the Trust. This is extremely valuable as it allows teachers to deliver a better and more organised education to students, in any circumstance. It also unlocks the potential to make better informed decisions when it comes to individual students or a school’s performance as a whole.

Further, real-time insight can highlight the inefficiencies across specific schools in a Trust, and provide the information needed to create a well-streamlined way of working. It can also promote conversations between co-workers that enable Trusts to move their focus away from organising data to using it to make critical decisions so they can drive impactful change as they embark on their growth journey.

The implication of the School Bill will enable growth, and real-time data will arm Trusts with insight. Trusts can create more assessable and intuitive reporting, presentation, and representation of centralised data in less time. By tracking trends over time and drilling down at a school or pupil level, leaders and teachers can have a holistic view of Trust data to reveal the real story behind the numbers to make the best, informed decisions.

IRIS Education is a CST Platinum Partner.