Find out about The Open Data Project for Schools

Over the past few years ASCL has been encouraging schools to share data so that leaders can understand their school’s performance faster and make better decisions. The Open Data Project for Schools is an important part of that.

We have worked with providers who asked their customers to share KS4 and prior attainment data so we could estimate Progress 8 within a few days rather than several weeks.

This collaboration process was very successful and is now part of what we expect. In 2019 that approach was vindicated by identifying that DfE provisional data was wrong and we could pinpoint the errors. Collaboration came of age.

We have built on this willingness to collaborate by making our ASCL data toolkit available online. This allows schools to crowdsource subject transition matrices weeks before any alternative analysis is available. A quarter of schools used this free toolkit in 2018. It is now populated with DfE data and remains the only way to get robust analysis at individual subject level at the time of the academic year which leaders need.

These are powerful indicators of what could be possible if we changed the culture of accountability.

What if:

  • Schools worked together routinely, using their data, to focus their attention on pupils still in school, while they can still make a difference?
  • New insights became available using modern techniques for data visualisation, dashboards, artificial intelligence and machine leaning?
  • Workload could be reduced by automating reporting, cutting the time needed to inform decision making and removing the need for expensive training?
  • Attendance, formative assessment, behaviour and much more could all be benchmarked and the feedback to schools was immediate?
  • Historical data from primary schools could be moved in its entirety to the pupil’s secondary school?
  • Ultimately a school-led approach to accountability emerged, with each school able to research its performance against its own priorities?

In short, what if all that data being collected and processed at great cost by schools and sent to the DfE entirely for public accountability was used to help schools learn much more about their pupils?

Clusters of schools from four local authorities in the North West have been piloting this approach through an initiative called the Open Data Project for Schools. We looked initially at attendance. By moving data into a secure, cloud environment and using new approaches to analysis we’ve started to make important discoveries such as Christmas Jumper day having a measurable negative impact on attendance in most schools which took part, and the probability of pupils attending on or around their birthday is dramatically reduced in some schools.’

We can use the data to support local issues, for example by helping headteachers challenge their LA decisions on holidays by comparing the attendance of similar pupils elsewhere.

The project has been steered by school leaders like you. We have shaped the data and reporting from their feedback. The heads and senior leaders involved in the pilot are convinced this is something ASCL should facilitate for all its members.

The process is simple. An extraction tool takes data securely from your management information system and stores it securely. You can view your data in new ways using business intelligence dashboards the following day.

It is not possible to provide this service for free but it is possible to keep the cost incredibly low if many schools get involved. Schools in the pilot tell us that the system pays for itself in time saved. The income generated will develop the system in the way school leaders determine. ASCL will oversee the integrity of the system and we will ensure the system is safe, used ethically and remains entirely out of the reaches of the DfE.

You can find out more here or register your interest below.

Duncan Baldwin

Deputy Director of Policy, Association of School and College Leaders


“As part of this pilot we finished the last academic year with an inverted Pupil Premium attendance gap which is a real cause for celebration.”

David Waugh. Head Teacher, Poynton High School

Join the Open Data Project

Based in Liverpool, UK, the project is managed in collaboration between askEddi and ASCL, working with schools across the country.

You can become part of the Open Data Project for Schools by signing up or contacting us at hello@opendataproject.org.uk

Register for SixIntoSeven

Register your interest in SixIntoSeven 2021 using your official school email address.  Please check your junk folder if you do not receive a confirmation email within 24 hours.

Thanks for signing up! Please add hello@opendataproject.org.uk to your safe senders list.

Register your interest

Register your interest in joining the Open Data Project for Schools using your official school email address. Our team will be in touch in the next 24 hours. Please check your junk folder if you do not receive an email.

Thanks for your interest in the Open Data Project for Schools. Please add noreply@opendataproject.org.uk to your safe senders list to ensure you receive our emails.