Education Magazine

Page 18

Data in education: managing transparency and consistency in multi-academy trusts By Andy Richardson, he explains how a single view of data, generated in real time, will enable Multi Academy Trusts to save costs, reduce the time spent on reporting and contribute to future strategic development Since 2014, there has been a significant increase in the number of schools forming or joining multi-academy trusts (MATs), with over 700 now operating in England. While some MATs are flourishing, many have experienced teething problems as they get to grips with this new, collaborative approach. However, teachers have expressed strong opinions about the future of MATs: divided between continuing to grow MATs, freezing MAT development or reverting MATs back to the local authority. From funding to time, there are numerous limitations placed on MATs. Yet, the biggest challenge faced is the need to deliver a

better level of transparency, consistency and accountability across the trust, leading to real, actionable outcomes for staff, students and all stakeholders. There is a need for a consistent data reporting system, to streamline information and allow targeted conversations to take place; shortening reporting times and relieving pressure on CEO’s who need to be able to make fast but informed decisions without waiting until the end of term – or end of the academic year. But how can this be achieved? Andy Richardson, CEO, Dynistics, discusses how a single view of data, generated in real time, will enable MATs to save costs, reduce the time spent on reporting and contribute to future strategic development. Finding funding opportunities The value of data in providing the transparency, accountability and visibility required to tackle these issues can’t be ignored - but with so much data to look at, it’s knowing where to start that can often be the problem. Currently, there are too many gaps in data analysis and reporting, with 90% of education professionals wanting to make better decisions based on real data. One area where this is essential is finance, with sourcing funding and planning or using

budgets high on the agenda for many MATs. At the start of the process, funding can be tricky and complicated. Selected academies may have financial difficulties and therefore cross-funding could be considered; this requires effective communication and organisation to ensure costs are allocated accurately and fairly across the MAT. However, with multiple departments involved and a need to report to numerous parties, communicating funding challenges and opportunities isn’t always straightforward. Displaying funding and budget information in a visual and engaging manner will ensure the right schools are getting the support they truly need to deliver those improved results. And being able to quickly and concisely see the information required, rather than trudging through various files and documents to find the stats needed, will actually save costs itself. By providing the budget holder with direct access to the MAT’s financial position, the time spent resolving budget issues can be reduced by 14%. Making the most of time In a sector where staff are in demand and time-poor, having a single view of real-time data, 24x7, means that every member of

How digital learning can enhance student experience across HE Xavier Briche, Head of Digital Learning at the University of Roehampton, discusses how the Digital Learning department contributes to enhancing the students’ learning environments, their digital experience and supporting academic delivery. Xavier has been Head of the Digital Learning unit at the University of Roehampton since it was created 7 years ago. The department supports teachers and students using educational technologies and subject-specialist digital tools

across the University. It works across a wide range of subject areas, modules and programmes to provide technical support for educational technologies, Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) and subject-specialist Media and IT. Since 2014 he has been a member of the Heads of eLearning Forum steering group (HeLF) and was involved in JISC’s Media Oversight Group in 2015 as well as the UK HE Learning Spaces Toolkit project. He currently runs the annual ‘What’s In Your (TEL) Toolbox?” survey on the adoption of learning technologies and market analysis in UK HE.


Here at The University of Roehampton we pride ourselves on delivering an exemplary student experience by ensuring that the learning environment, both on campus and online, is outstanding and engaging. Our current on-campus community welcomes around 8,500 students from all backgrounds. The University offers a range of support to its diverse student body, as well as providing students with the opportunity to develop their interests beyond the course of study and encouraging them to grow as individuals. In order for us to fulfil these commitments, the University has created a robust Digital Learning Services department (DL) to support technology for teaching and learning, which provides dedicated eLearning, specialist IT and Digital Media services. Roehampton’s Digital Learning department The department and its service teams strive

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