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Support as important as the software

Recently I’ve been doing some work for a school that’s very close to my heart as all four (yes four!) of my kids having attended there. I was doing a bit of analysis of our users to identify schools that hadn’t yet engaged with OTrack’s assessing without levels features.

Parkwood came up as one of those schools and, having known Jackie Mell and Helen Butler for a few years, I thought I’d give them a call to offer some support.

“Brilliant understanding of the needs of our own individual data. Feel that support has been given to really make our tracking individual and covers the needs of our academy”

Helen Butler, Assessment Co-ordinator Oasis Academy Parkwood, Scunthorpe

It turned out that they weren’t fully aware of what we had to offer post levels and had started putting information back into Excel spreadsheets and Word documents so I said I’d come in and have a chat, see what they’re doing and suggest a way that OTrack could meet their needs.

Up until this point they had tried many different ways to track, without any concrete support or one way of completing any assessment. Their academy trust had developed a coloured system and as an individual academy they had further developed this. The problem they were having was that staff found it difficult to pitch and assess where a child was and how this could be transposed from old levels to colours, especially further up in KS2. KS1 was a little easier as children have moved from EYFS which uses a similar system of emerging, expected and exceeding.

Support and understanding are key

A really interesting meeting followed where we discussed the different options available. After careful consideration we agreed that the Deeper Learning tool would be the best model to implement with the custom codes that would help them report back to their trust on a regular basis. This is a colour coded approach with Red, Amber, Green and Platinum. Due to their own needs Parkwood wanted to break this down further so we agreed that Amber would be split into Amber Emerging and Amber Developing.

I set up the codes with Helen and Jackie in school and we looked at the ‘off-the-shelf’ Deeper Learning reports, discussed which ones they would like to personalise and we re-booked another appointment. I left them to enter some assessment and target data.

Reports are easier to read and analyse as a group

As assessment lead Helen really needed to be able to focus on different groups as well as whole school/class tracking so we discussed the Specific Groups feature in OTrack. This area allows you to set up your own custom groups, in addition to the usual contextual groups that you’ll find.

Following the changes Helen felt that “Staff are able to see a snapshot of their own class and use the data for progress meetings and ongoing tracking and assessment” as well as reports being “easy to read and share at meetings to give a whole school overview”.

Another of the major benefits is that the information can now be more clearly communicated with parents.

A really rewarding experience

It’s always nice to receive good feedback if you’ve done a piece of work but there’s something extra special when you know it might change lives. By customising the reports we’ve saved Helen and Jackie loads of time and this can only be beneficial to the pupils of Parkwood. I wish them well but they know I am always at the end of the phone (or occasionally in the playground!) to take any questions.

Find out more

If you would like to find out how OTrack can be customised to suit your needs please get in touch or have a look at our features page.

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