Limitless possibilities

Bryn Celynnog, a suburban comprehensive school in Wales, has used Class Charts and Provision Map to transform its approach to data, performance and behaviour, as attendance improvement manager Hayley Jacobs explains.

Before introducing Class Charts, staff at Bryn Celynnog, a suburban comprehensive school in Wales with 1211 pupil on roll, were struggling under the weight of processing and interpreting data on pupil behaviour and achievement.

“All the recording was there but it wasn’t transparent enough and putting the data together and making sense of it took about 70 hours. We couldn’t sustain it, and we felt there must be a better way of doing it,” recalls attendance improvement manager Hayley Jacobs.

The turning point came when she went on a course and met another teacher whose school was using Class Charts.

“He invited me along to see it in action, and we haven’t looked back since. Now all the information is transparent and available at the click of a button,” she says.

The benefits of using Class Charts far outstripped her initial expectations. Not only did it increase transparency of pupil data; it also eased the introduction of a positive rewards system. Good performance and behaviour earn pupils Class Charts points, which can be exchanged for rewards ranging from gift vouchers to stationery.

“The pupils feel in total control of their own behaviour because their rewards are linked in to the reward store – and they can choose what they buy. We’ve been able to improve our positive behaviours and celebrate pupil successes,” says Hayley. “It means the achievements of the middle of the road children get recognised. Now the pupil management system is empowering the pupils; they regularly remind teachers to award those Class Charts points.”

A key factor in boosting positive behaviour has been the fact that Class Charts enables parents to see at a glance how their children are performing across all their lessons.

“Parental engagement has increased – I feel it has cut my role in half in that respect because there is now total transparency,” says Hayley. “Parents want to know how children are getting on at school and they can now see positive and negative behaviours throughout the day – and they have access to historical information on how their children have done. If they see negative or positive behaviours, a dialogue about that can happen at home.”

Class Charts has also given school staff total transparency on pupil performance: a full report can be run off for any pupil at a click of a button.

“For example, we saw negative points starting to appear for one pupil, so we were able to talk to her, and we found out that things were not good at home. This meant we were able to put in an early intervention.”

It has also eased the process of examining the performance of groups of pupils within the school.

“There is no longer any running around speaking to heads of department, heads of faculties and so on.  We can see whether an intervention has improved a cohort or group’s behaviour, whether it has been financially viable, and we can decide whether to roll it out the following year. The senior management team love that it is so data rich and powerful.”

For classroom teachers, a big bonus has been the seating plans, which make it easy to appropriately place all class members, displaying the chart on the board to prevent any debates or discussion about the arrangement.

The school also introduced another EduKey product, Provision Map, which, used alongside Class Charts, has helped the school implement the Gatsby Career Benchmark pilot scheme. This lays out a framework of eight guidelines defining the best careers provision in schools and colleges. Its aim is to enhance pupil aspirations and make sure they have a career path.

“We were able to keep the parents informed on what is being offered to their children and map it out from year seven to year 13. For every pupil, we can see what career interventions they have had – a guest speaker coming in from a local business, for example.”

Provision Map has made it possible to see at the click of a button which Gatsby benchmarks had been met, while Class Charts has made it easy to record and reward all the positive behaviours linked with taking part in the activities. Bryn Celynnog’s success in meeting the Gatsby benchmarks led it to be invited to share best practice with other schools who were part of the Gatsby pilot scheme.

Meanwhile, Class Charts has become central to the life of the school, and a key tool in senior management meetings.

“We can create so many different reports – child specific, gender split, specific groups,” says Hayley. “These are used weekly in our SMT meetings, drive interventions and help us look at cohorts and at what interventions are needed – it’s so data rich.”

“I don’t know how any school manages without it – it’s fully embedded in our school. I can’t believe how much time it’s saving, and we are able to undertake far more enrichment activities and more early intervention: we can look at the data and respond to it. It’s really working for us. The total transparency is key for all stakeholders, governors included.”