Multi - Academy Trust Datadashboard Case Study

Harris Sixth Form - A new Datadashboard: behind the scenes

At Learning Plus UK we have been developing a new interactive Datadashboard format which can be used across the education sector to analyse performance data and improve outcomes for young people. This is the story behind the development of the Harris Federation Post-16 Datadashboard.

The Harris Federation is a Multi-Academy Trust, with an established Post-16 Federation within it, plus academies with sixth form provision who are not part of the Post-16 Federation. As Sandra Miles ( Principal Post 16 ) explains:

 “We were looking for a web based datadashboard which enables us to monitor and review Post-16 performance at Federation level, but still maintain the ability to look at individual Academies and  groups, such as cross site students, within those Academies, all in one place. Having worked with Learning Plus UK for several years and seen a demo of their new approach to Datadashboards, we felt this was the right solution for us.”

The development of the Datadashboard has used a “working in partnership” approach, with the Harris Post 16 Management team, understanding their exact requirements and creating a specification for the project, which would address their key areas:

  • ·         Several monitoring points during the year
  • ·         Timely data
  • ·         Cross site students
  • ·         Analysis at numerous levels
  • ·         National Performance measures
  • ·         Reports

So over the past few months we have all worked together to develop a data template and a Datadashboard template, using business intelligence software, which meets the Harris team’s needs. So what were the solutions?

·         Several monitoring points during the year

The client identified three key points during the year when they would provide us with data, two internal monitoring points and summer final results. From this we identified the appropriate national benchmarks, so that the performance and contextual data has the most up-to-date validated national benchmarks.

·         Timely data

To be able to up-date the Datadashboard with new data quickly, we developed the system to be able to load new data through into a preliminary report for testing and quality checking, and then through into the final Datadashboard once checked. The data then gets stored alongside the existing data to allow us to produce historical and trend analysis on the data.

·         Cross site students

Across the Harris Federation numerous students are registered at one Academy but study one of their subjects at another. By creating a data field and filter which identifies these students the Datadashboard enables analysis of their performance to be viewed easily.

·         Analysis at numerous levels

In further discussion with the Harris team we drilled down into the details around what information to include in the Datadashboard and how we could best present it. From this we agreed a list of both performance measures and filters from the data, providing analysis at many levels.

The filters are key to analysis in the Datadashboard. We split the filters into two categories - contextual measures, such as Free School Meals eligibility, and levels of aggregation, such as centre level and individual pupil information. This enables the user to view given performance measures such as Average Points per Student for selected groups (for example, FSM students only), by using the filters to provide the analysis, one in one view, rather than pages and pages of information.

·         National Performance measures

An important requirement from the client’s perspective was the need to make sure the performance measures included both matched the performance measures from the DfE’s performance tables, and further measures to give additional insight. By providing a unique tab for these performance measures, the user is able to assess their performance by these key metrics, and view them at contextual group levels to identify where any problems may lie.

·         Reports

Alongside the online and interactive data, a need was expressed to be able to take some of the information shown and provide it in a hard copy format to others within the organisation. We have created centre and pupil level reports that are created from inside the Datadashboard and generated in a PDF format. A report includes the key performance measures reflecting the selections that were made at the time, allowing quick report generation, but retaining the flexibility of the filters that are seen in the online Datadashboard.


Throughout the development of the Datadashboard there has been regular input from the client, from devising the data template to the functionality being included. With the Summer 2013 results uploaded and analysis already begun, it now time to roll out across the federation. At a meeting in late August with the Harris team we planned the roll out to the key users, to give them a comprehensive understanding of how to get the best out of the Datadashboard and how to use the filters to give insight into the data they collect on their students.

As David Astin ( Vice Principal Post 16 )says: “The Datadashboard is a valuable tool in enabling  us to analyse the attainment of our students and develop strategies to continue their improvement, both within individual academies and across the federation.”

To find out more about a Datadashboard for your organisation then please contact the Learning Plus UK office.