2021 Autumn Term 2


  • Clockwork Tomato
    Geoff Barton explores the less familiar areas of leadership in the hope we can appreciate that each and every leader leaves behind an education system better than the one they inherited. More
  • Here to Help
    Supporting you is at the heart of everything we do. Director of Member Support, Richard Tanton, says it's been an exceptionally busy year for his team, advising and representing leaders through extremely challenging times. Here he provides an overview. More
  • Considering Headship?
    Taking the step from senior leader to headteacher or principal can be daunting. Here, Headteacher and ASCL Consultant Gareth Burton shares top tips to help leaders considering their next move. More
  • Keeping Track
    As a multi-academy trust (MAT) leader, navigating assessment data across your schools is essential but it can be complicated and time consuming. Here, Sue Macgregor from Alps shares top tips on how trust leaders can better manage the process. More
  • Making a Difference
    Over the last three years, we've put our work on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at the heart of everything we do at ASCL. Here Rachael Warwick, Immediate Past President, highlights the work undertaken so far and shares our future plans. More
  • Levelling Up
    In their new roles, Nadhim Zahawi and Michael Gove have a chance to deliver true levelling up, but it will take more than one policy or initiative to unpick the inequalities behind poor outcomes for some children in education, says NFER's Dr Angela Donkin. More
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As a multi-academy trust (MAT) leader, navigating assessment data across your schools is essential but it can be complicated and time consuming. Here, Sue Macgregor from Alps shares top tips on how trust leaders can better manage the process.

Keeping Track

One system, one language 

There are many benefits to a single data-tracking system embedded across all schools in a trust. The first is that a common data system will support the development of a common language across all schools in that trust, creating a uniform approach to many aspects of the raising standards agenda. For example, it could support the generation of a unified target-setting strategy, where all staff and students, regardless of school, are clear on how targets have been determined and on how progress towards these targets will be tracked. 

Common assessment cycles 

Outcomes from examination results are essential in allowing MAT leaders to establish priorities across the trust, however, a data system should also support the trust in making interim checks on the projected progress of their schools across the whole academic year. 

The creation of a parallel assessment cycle, across numerous schools, presents many challenges. Therefore, any centralised data system must be flexible enough to allow schools some autonomy over when they collect and track data, alongside the needs of the trust. 

School leaders require a data-tracking system that allows some degree of autonomy and one that can be tailored to their specific setting. Each school may have different needs in terms of the student groups that they track, and leaders will want to define the type of progress data to be collected and analysed. They require their staff to determine intervention priorities, which will guide their learning and teaching strategies in lessons.

However, school leaders also have a responsibility to the trust. They must provide data analysis that allows MAT leaders to compare strengths and weaknesses across all schools quickly, and facilitate them in asking the right questions at the right time, to hold each school to account. This is most efficient when all schools have some crossover between their quality assurance processes and in the language that they use when discussing their tracking data. 


Analysis of progress data should be made as simple and as efficient as possible. Data can accrue rapidly, and MAT leaders must be able to access their school tracking systems quickly and be sure they are comparing like for like in terms of progress indicators. Again, this centralised approach will mean leaders can determine priorities across the trust and ensure that resources are distributed successfully to benefit all young people across the group. 

Curriculum decisions 

Through a centralised MAT data system, leaders can review the curriculum offer across all schools. With increasing financial pressures on schools and trusts, a strategic overview is crucial to build a curriculum model that best meets the needs of the young people in the schools across the trust. Leaders must be armed with information, such as the range of courses offered by individual schools, student numbers and historical progress trends. 

Data analysis outcomes 

In summary, embedding a common approach to data tracking across a trust will ensure that MAT leaders can support school leaders while holding them to account. In addition, it will encourage the set-up of rigorous assessment cycles. 

A centralised system can contribute to the establishment of a culture of school-to-school support. With the sharing of data comes the sharing of best practice. MAT leaders told us that they wanted a system to enable them to understand how to drive improvement across all schools in the trust. In essence they wanted to be able to: 

  • identify schools and subject areas where practice is strong
  • identify schools and subject areas where practice is having less impact on progress
  • facilitate the communication of good practice led by those stronger schools and subject areas
  • ensure that there are clear intervention priorities and development plans generated from these sessions, which are centred on improving progress outcomes for students
  • quality assure the impact of agreed intervention through the rigorous analysis of subsequent data sets 

An outstanding data system is the tool that MAT leaders can use to drive effective learning and teaching strategies across the trust so that their students are given a consistent and equal opportunity to thrive.  

Find out more about Alps Summit 

Alps Summit is a new MAT platform that will enable trusts to strategically analyse and review performance across multiple schools in a simple, easy and effective way. It provides the framework to establish a uniform approach to the tracking of progress and is the perfect partner to Alps Connect, providing schools with autonomy over their own data (try Alps Connect Interactive free for 30 days with sample data and quick start onboarding at alps.education/try-connect). Alps Summit was developed with the support of MAT leaders, under the guiding principles set out in this article. For more information on Alps Summit, please visit alps.education  

ASCLPremier Partner

Alps is an ASCL Premier Partner, offering school data analysis. Trusted by schools and colleges across the globe, the online platform, Alps Connect Interactive, enables powerful analysis, creating a common language to look at student and subject performance.  

Sue Macgregor
Director of Education and Product Development at Alps Education