Pupil progress tracking has been about looking back: collating historical assessment data and generating reports on attainment. But times have changed. Primary schools are now able to use their pupil data to model the future, for spotting opportunities and making informed, data-driven decisions for ongoing improvement.
However, it can be complex and time-consuming to collect, process and analyse all that data and it can be easy for warning signs about a particular pupil to go unnoticed. This is where Sonar Tracker comes in. It transforms how you can record and act on essential intelligence, and helps you deliver more positive impacts for more pupils, more often.
We recently held a Q&A discussion webinar with Nick Hutchings, Headteacher of Hamilton Primary School, who shared his experiences of using Sonar Tracker and the impacts they’ve seen for both staff and pupils. Here are some of the highlights from the discussion.
Ease of use
For Nick, a key priority for a prospective pupil tracking platform was that it wouldn’t add layers of complexity for his staff. A web-based platform that works on every type of device, with only an hour’s initial training required made Sonar Tracker stand out from the crowd.
When we looked at it, we found a device-agnostic package: it didn’t require any specific equipment. I was looking for simplicity and wanted something that would be easy to remember, because staff were going to be using it, at least initially, on an irregular basis. I also talked to the Sonar team and designed my training package, so that when we had our first training session, we could put real information into a live system and get something out of that system.
Sonar Tracker allowed Nick’s staff to move away from using Google spreadsheets for regular reporting. By using Sonar Tracker functionality, including tooling such as the effective assessment feature, specifically designed to reduce teacher workloads, the time taken to generate these reports for pupil progress meetings and for meetings with governors has been substantially reduced.
My deputy head would spend 2-3 hours trying to draw data together and get it into a format that would be simple enough to understand for some of our governors and staffing body. We can take some of the screen grabs from Sonar Tracker and very quickly give an idea of the performance of the school, so that’s had a really big impact.
Response and support
Nick feels that Sonar Tracker has been helpful as part of their strategies for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, where primary school pupils in particular have had their education and development significantly disrupted.
At a time when school staff are already stretched capacity-wise, Nick appreciates the fact that Sonar Tracker can help his school spot issues to address without the need for any time-intensive work on the platform.
There’s a massive need for personal, social and emotional support for our children and our entire community, and so this is a package that can be useful but that requires the least amount of input from everybody.
One of the most important benefits for Hamilton Primary School, that Nick feels helps his staff and ultimately his pupils, is the accessibility of the system, and the fact that it puts data at the heart of pupil management.
Sonar Tracker fits with our purpose at the moment. It’s a central data repository that gives us relevant and real information, quickly across any computer I’m on in the school, at any point, and has an impact on the pupils and a positive impact on staff workload.
While his staff have only explored relatively basic functionality within Sonar Tracker so far, looking to the future, Nick is keen to explore other areas.
What is attractive about the Sonar package is that I can go back to the Juniper team and ask for another training session around a particular feature. I’m hopeful that we’ll get some more familiarity around the system, and ensure we know what we need to do to hit our statutory data points.
Learn more about how Sonar Tracker supports primary schools like yours! Please get in touch with us today to book a short demo.