Focus Academy Trust Pupil Tracking

We have been working with Focus Education for a numbers of years now, being involved with Clive Davies and the team has been a brilliant experience. We have worked on numerous projects and developments together and will continue to do that in the years to come.

Focus Education created their own charitable multi-academy trust in 2012 and, like all other academy groups, Focus Trust were faced with making a decision on how the schools would assess and track pupils in a life after levels.

Read on to find out how we customised OTrack as their academy trust pupil tracking system.

AAcademy Trust Pupil Tracking

Early in 2015, Helen Rowland, the Chief Executive at Focus Trust, invited me to demonstrate OTrack to the eleven principals of the academies. The principals wanted all the academies to be using a common assessment and tracking method – at that time, each academy had their own individual tracking system and this wasn’t quite working for the trust as a whole. I showed the group how we could customise OTrack to work based on their theories and ethos, and enable the trust to get rich cross-academy analysis of attainment and progress. After the principals had taken a good look around the market, I was really pleased to be told that they all agreed OTrack would provide them with the tools they needed.

Customised for school leaders

Helen suggested that I meet up with the principals again, this time we would discuss their exact requirements for tracking and analysis. We booked an afternoon session where the principals and Helen made several suggestions for improvements to existing features and also asked for bespoke reports to be created. After the session, we got straight to work on the developments and after a couple of months the new reports were live in OTrack and ready for the academies to use.

The developments didn’t stop there, as theories and ideas developed, we adapted OTrack and the analysis it creates to meet the needs of the academies and the trust as a whole.

“The support and customisation that OTrack gives us means that all SLTs across the Trust are using a shared system, language and expectations. The variety of reports enables the SLTs to present information in understandable formats to a range of audiences, such as parents, governors, and the Trust. All these reports come with a wide range of filters that enable instant analysis of pupil groups, cohorts and individuals. It really feels like a bespoke Focus Trust system.”

Helen Rowland, Chief Executive at Focus Trust

Valuable data for teachers, pupils, parents and governors

The trust uses Focus Education curriculum materials to standardise the learning objectives used across the academies. Each teacher in the trust uses our Class Track software, loaded with these objectives. They record the outcomes of assessments to track which objectives have been taught and the depth of understanding by pupils. The use of Class Track also means that the teachers can identify which pupils have missed certain objectives or require additional teaching to securely understand certain aspects of the curriculum.

Pupils are aware of the objectives they will be learning in the particular year group and know which of the objectives they securely understand or need to learn more thoroughly. The schools have worked with the pupils so they understand how Class Track relates to the work in their books and this is used in academy and Trust moderation sessions.

Parents have found the reports help them to understand which objectives their children know well or need to learn in the future. Governors have had input into report design and appreciate that a common language and the same reports are now shared across the Trust.

Cross-academy analysis

Helen has worked closely with the reports development team here at OTrack. They have worked on new reports that enable Helen to analyse the progress and attainment of year groups and contextual groups across the trust. Helen and Tracey Thornton, Academy Improvement Partner, can now monitor which academies are regularly inputting pupil data and then provide support to those that need it. It’s been a steep learning curve but across the Trust they are now speaking a common language!

“At the touch of a button, I have access to live data across the eleven academies. If the DfE request pupil performance data, I can access it live myself rather than contacting the academy and possibly encountering a delay”

Helen Rowland, Chief Executive at Focus Trust

Helen is also very keen to identify best practice in the use of OTrack and then work with academy leaders to share this with others.

On-going support

We are always keen to provide all our users with with various support services – Helen has found these very useful and worked with our support team to make sure she gets the best out of the services we offer. Working together we have delivered initial training sessions to school leaders, in-school sessions at each academy, personalised webinar sessions and supporting help-guides – all designed specifically for the Focus Trust and their academies.

I’m sure we will continue to adapt the tracking tools, analysis and support services for the trust as the needs of the trust change – as always, we will welcome contact from Helen and the academies and look forward to helping them whenever they need us.

“I am delighted that we made the decision to go with OTrack, the service is fantastic and the OTrack team always go above and beyond when we need them.”

Helen Rowland, Chief Executive at Focus Trust

Feedback from schools and parents

Here is a collection of quotes from Governors, Principals, teachers and parents.

“The variety and quality of Early Years reports that OTrack offer is fantastic!

As a teacher it is important to me to be able to easily manipulate data and gain an accurate picture of pupil progress, attainment and achievement across the seven areas of learning. As a result, I can ensure that teaching provision is relevant, meaningful and supports pupils’ progress effectively.

“The variety and quality of Early Years reports that OTrack offer is fantastic!

As a teacher it is important to me to be able to easily manipulate data and gain an accurate picture of pupil progress, attainment and achievement across the seven areas of learning. As a result, I can ensure that teaching provision is relevant, meaningful and supports pupils’ progress effectively.

OTrack’s system and Early Years reports make the process of data analysis easy. Filters within reports offer a deeper analysis of data for the cohort, class, pupil groups or individuals. In moments I can find out the % of children on track to reach a Good Level of Development, identify who these children are, establish which children are not ‘on track’ and identify the specific areas where slow progress is being made.  This information is priceless and supports teachers in addressing any gaps in learning by planning appropriate targeted intervention for individuals and groups to help get them back ‘on track’.”

Carrie Kiselis, teacher and Assistant Principal at Old Trafford Community Academy

“As Principal I have been really impressed with how quickly the developers at OTrack have produced new reports tailored to the needs of my academy- this bespoke service has meant that I get the information I need, specific to my unique audience.’

New systems take time to embed and staff can sometimes feel out of their comfort zone – the OTrack system is simple and easy to use, it relates directly to the end of year expectation statements that teachers are familiar with  and there have been very few teething problems. This has meant that after less than a year staff feel fully confident in its use.”

Kyrstie Joslin, Principal at Boothroyd Primary Academy

“The objective sheet from Parent’s Evening was very informative. It has pointed out all the areas that I need to work on at home with my child. It was easy to explain to my husband our sons’ strengths and areas the areas he needs to work on. The green percentages which he has met was very useful as it showed me that he was making progress at school.”

Y3 parent at Deeplish Primary Academy

“OTrack has been an invaluable tool in identifying coverage of the curriculum. It gives teachers age related expectations at their fingertips. As Principal I can quickly produce reports which track the attainment of all my pupils.”

Ewan McPherson, Principal at Deeplish Primary Academy

“OTrack looks like a suitable system to monitor progress and attainment in the absence of levels… after 4 sets of data we are starting to see clearer positions developing and with some validation of our predictions compared to SATs outcomes we will have a better view for next year.”

Bob Richmond, Chair of Governors at Rudheath Primary Academy