"Attendance at the Trust has improved by 1% overall and PA has improved by 4% from last year."
Alison Semley – School Improvement Officer (Data and Intelligence) tells in her words what difference Bromcom has made throughout the Trust.
We are a large Multi Academy Trust working across the North of England and have been established for 10 years. Our family of 30 primary schools (32 from September 2023), share a dedication and commitment to high quality, inclusive education. We cover 7 LA’s – Tameside, North Yorkshire, Stockton on Tees, Middlesborough, North East Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire, Kingston upon Hull. 36% of our pupils across the trust are disadvantaged and 5 schools are over 50%.
The 2 main areas that my role concentrates on are Attendance and Assessment. Before moving to Bromcom I seemed to spend more time gathering data which left me with less time to analyse and act upon the results if needed. Through the knowledge of our Director of IT we were able to develop Power BI in our last MIS, but this was time consuming and took him away from his day to day job. When we made the decision to look for a different MIS solution, we had several non-negotiables:
- Cloud based
- One stop shop (no need for other add ons) such as parent aps for communication, payments, dinners etc.
- Instant access to data centrally
- Ability to transfer our own assessment system into the MIS
- Easy navigation
"We wanted a ‘One Stop Shop' from our MIS, and Bromcom was the market leader for us"
For about 60% of our schools, attendance has to be constantly monitored closely on a daily basis. We, like a lot of trusts and schools have suffered greatly with the effects of Covid and we have had to work hard this academic year to address this. Centrally we decided that we were going to hit the ground running so during the summer we developed a process which all our schools have to follow, which addresses any issues immediately e.g., any absences that have not been reported by parents are left a text message and then a house call will follow if still no contact. I also delivered training at the beginning of the academic year to all our schools, which included the use of Bromcom for attendance. I intend to do this every year as schools found it very beneficial.
Bromcom is part of the process we have written:
- Using the Watchlist daily for N codes – this takes literally 1 minute and texts the contacts en mass. This allows the schools to deal with the vulnerable children first for first day absence calls. By the time these are complete, a lot of parents have made contact with reason for absence. Something as simple as this has streamlined the process for our attendance officers and allowed them to concentrate on the most vulnerable.
- Using the Attendance dashboard for individual school analysis – For each of our schools this has been almost a one stop shop for them. This is used on a weekly/ half termly/ termly basis to analyse:
- Headline figures,
- Class Attendance % and PA%
- Cohort Attendance % and PA%
- Vulnerable Groups Attendance % and PA%
- Individual data – click on any chart bar to drill into a list of pupils to investigate further.
- Checking days of the week patterns, and so much more.
Schools have to send an email on a weekly basis for any new pupils below 90% to arrange a meeting, and a text to pupils who are above 90% and below 93% to inform them about the expectation of the school and that they are in danger of becoming PA. They do this by using the student list and adding an extra column showing the attendance %. This is filtered and then all the pupil selected will then receive the email or text. Again, this has saved a lot of time in gathering the information and allowed more time to spend on acting on the analysis.
Centrally I use the Power BI section of Mat Vision, which has allowed me to access data instantly:
- Headline figures to report to Trustees.
- I look at the individual schools and can instantly see which are declining and can then address these findings with these schools, this is done half termly.
- I can also monitor schools that have been flagged as declining.
- It helps me analyse vulnerable groups.
- I can compare to last year for weekly, termly and yearly attendance.
- If school have OFSTED in, then it helps me to quickly obtain any data asked for above and beyond what we would normally collate.
It is quite difficult to quantify the difference using Bromcom has made due to Covid but this academic year the Trust has improved by 1% overall and PA has improved by 4% from last year. I think this is due to the Central process we have in place which is helped immensely by the speed we can work at due to Bromcom.
"We wanted a MIS that allowed us to transfer the assessment tracking system we had in SIMS and Bromcom was the only one flexible enough to do this"
When Live without Levels was first introduced by the DFE, like most schools, several different systems were trialled. We decided as a Trust that most of our schools weren’t confident or happy with their systems and it was incredibly hard as a Trust to gather, monitor and analyse the data centrally. We were using a MIS that allowed us to create our own assessment package so this is what we did for both formative and summative assessment. It took 2 years of teething issues to get the right calculations and a further 2 years to be happy that all of our schools were confident and mostly accurate in their assessment and tracking of pupils. All analysis was created by the use of reports exporting into Excel with the use of Macros which took an age to run. It was in our 5th year that we started to use Bromcom, and we haven’t looked back.
Bromcom assured us that what we already had could be replicated and what couldn’t, would be developed. At the time of migration most of the developments were ready and we trained the schools in the use of the Primary Tracker. This went seamlessly and the schools mostly were impressed by the ease of how to add data and use the Primary tracker analysis. We asked for development to the Depth of Knowledge analysis, and this was quickly ready for us to use. This gave teachers the ability to identify gaps during a unit, in Maths for example and address them there and then. It also enabled our Subject Leaders to identify gaps for example, a weakness in Fractions throughout school.
The primary Tracker analysis tool allows teachers, subject leaders, senior leaders to analyse summative data as an overview including vulnerable groups. They can also monitor progress from KS1 to tracker progress is on track. Prior to using Bromcom, at the end of each term, schools would run a report I had created that output to Excel and email this to me. I would then copy and paste into a master document to Centrally analyse data. Just the copying and pasting took me a full day. I now use Mat Vision and Power BI, which gives me what I need on 1 page instantly and I can then inform the relevant school improvement officer of the need of each school for training, visits etc. We still use the master document, but this literally takes me at the most an hour.
- I always say that we need to spend as little time as possible analysing the data and more time acting on what it is telling us – Bromcom has allowed us to do this.
- Yes, we have had issues and frustrations the main one being Mat Vision not synchronising which has now (fingers crossed) been fixed. There has been the odd issue with Primary Tracker but again fingers crossed all the bugs have now been fixed.
- The one thing we have asked for development is the Teacher app for the formative assessing of pupils. It would be good to see one objective at a time making it easy to add data on the fly during a lesson via an IPAD.
- The next step for us now is using the data fully to make sure we keep progressing the pupils as we are. All our pupils are attending a Good or Outstanding school currently and we intend for this to continue.