Using Data

In the beginning…

I remember very clearly back in the early 1990s the joy of using email for the first time to communicate with my colleagues. The days of hand written memos being sent around in brown envelopes or placed in pigeon holes slowly became a thing of the past.
I worked in a large school and we did not have a telephone in every classroom but we did install a school wide network for our PCs. As head teacher I would have to deal with a student, sent to my office for an offence of one sort or another. When this happened a teacher would get a three part incident note. Make a note of the event, keep a copy, pass one to the pastoral person and one would go to the subject head. It could be days before the bits of paper found themselves to the correct files and the ability to do anything about the reasons behind the incident would more than usually get lost.

Then we got email- Imagine the boy in front of me. What’s happened? I ask. Nothing he says, that teacher has just got it ion for me. I did nothing. He says. I swing round to my mail box and see three emails about him. Late to Music, Played up in Maths. Had a row in French.

We proceed to have a conversation.

The next week the same. This time it’s a crescendo in three different subjects. But each time I notice that the three lessons follow PE. So we finally track down. Because we can, that the issue isn’t in maths or French. It is that he has really badly ripped PE kit and the other children give him a hard time in PE.

The point of the story is that data is really really useful. But if the data doesn’t exists, or it’s in a form that can’t be collated and turned into information, then you might as well not have it.

Back in the 1990s we didn’t have an integrated school management system, we just used email, but it was better than paper.

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EFF Team

We are a global not for profit organisation and our purpose is to grow a global movement of teachers, students, leaders and policy makers who understand and will tackle education’s challenges and so will accelerate education and education’s systems faster forward.