Launching ASCL’s Open Data Project for Schools

Following an extensive pilot, ASCL (supported by technical partner askEddi) is making its collaborative Open Data Project available for all schools. Data from schools’ management systems (or any other source) can be used to support individual or groups of schools to learn from each other. 

The schools involved in the pilot have been able to visualise attendance data in new and powerful ways. By sharing this data it has become possible to uncover previously unknown issues which impact on attendance such as pupils’ birthdays or annual events such as Christmas Jumper Day, to investigate the impact of local authority decision making around school holidays and to begin to anticipate risk triggers for individual pupils’ attendance by using machine learning. 

Duncan Baldwin, Deputy Director of Policy at ASCL explains: “Schools are used to collecting and processing data for a range of purposes, but too often this is used purely to drive external accountability. Much of the potential learning from this data is lost. Using modern dashboards and analytical methods allows us to explore links and patterns in schools’ data which were previously unknown.” 

“Government driven accountability can go some way to improving a system. But to become truly great, schools themselves need to drive improvement. Understanding what works, by sharing aggregated data of any type, allows schools to test and learn from each other.” 

“Our Open Data Project for schools has been developed by school leaders to show what they need to improve their schools. We are now looking to develop this as widely as possible. For example we can empower school improvement by sharing subject level residuals to inform CPD, facilitating transition by moving data about from primary to secondary schools or by allowing schools to tackle serious issues such as boys’ reading. All of this is under a single platform, with school leaders steering the direction and ensuring ethical use of the data.” 

The team will be at the ASCL 2020 conference to answer your questions – visit Duncan’s breakout “Why collaboration is the future for accountability” or visit stand 19. For more information visit 

[First published in the Association of School and College Leaders’ email newsletter for members 02/03/2020]