Child-led and data-informed: The Riverside School, Prague

The different lenses with which we view the data have varied and interesting outcomes. We continue to embrace both the ‘wide views’ and ‘narrow focus’ that can be applied to our data for maximum impact on teaching and learning.
Graeme Chisholm, Principal


  • Every member of a school leadership team should have a stake in student data
  • Data must be accessible and meaningful to teachers
  • Summative assessment data must impact teaching and learning

Graeme Chisholm, Principal, and Matthew Dagan, Deputy Principal, Assessment, at Riverside Primary School in Prague, explain how the school put data triangulation at the heart of their new management structure and why this led on to the development of their own web-based application to share data.

We subscribe to the notion that we are child led and data informed. If we were to use data to effectively inform practice, we had to ask ourselves a number of questions:

• Is there evidence, through data, that we are developing confident students that feel secure about themselves as learners?

• Can we compare our student achievement to those students in the UK?

• Can we provide clear indication as to the progress our students are making year to year?

• Can we show that our students are working to their potential and above?

• Can we unpack reasons if students are not reaching their potential?

• Can we provide specific curriculum feedback for various stakeholders at the school?

• Can the data inform teachers of next steps for individualized learning?

• How do we make such vast amounts of data meaningful and manageable?

• How do we disseminate this wealth of data to an interconnected leadership team to ensure it has a positive effect on daily teaching and learning?

Looking for ways to remove barriers in our assessment practices coincided with the restructuring of our Senior Management Team. Creating management roles with vertical responsibilities and allowing for the triangulation of data among these roles, meant that data, processes and ideas could be shared and could help remove barriers to progress, regarding both assessment data and the development of school targets. The eventual investment in the GL Education assessment model coincided, hand in hand, with these structural changes and was an agent of change which led to the management structure detailed below.

Data and its Relevance to Leadership Roles

How (and why) did we structure our management team to include data?

We wanted to be “data informed” and deliberate in developing our school processes and structure. Allowing each member of the leadership team to have ownership of the data created an atmosphere in which we had stakeholders that were now invested and informed, regarding the success and development of our students.

How do we determine which data is useful for each member of SMT?

Some of the data points have obvious links for specific SMT members (i.e. Pupil Attitudes to Self and School® (PASS) data being central to our Student Welfare Coordinator), but at other times is much more nuanced. Our Curriculum Coordinator has direct interest in trends for maths and literacy, by year group, as well as looking at curriculum gaps detailed in the Progress Test Series® (PT Series) skills and content analysis. Our Teaching & Learning Coordinator may also be looking at these same results, by class, to see if possible issues in staff practice/pedagogy may be affecting these same outcomes. Likewise, our heads of schools may be analyzing the same data with a focus on more global, development targets in mind.

How do we get this data to our SMT members?

An Assessment Analysis is drafted at the conclusion of each school year by the Assessment Coordinator. The data analysis is presented to the SMT along with highlights and a specific focus related to each member of the SMT. This includes sections on student attainment, progress, curriculum gaps, PASS results, year on year school trends, national & international comparisons, long-term student results, and implications/targets.
What is the process of “data-analyze-change”?

When the Assessment Analysis is completed each year, an outline of potential goals and targets are drafted and used to help guide the school-wide development plan. The development plan targets become working outcomes for each member of the SMT, as well as teachers, through integration of appraisal targets. This ensures a school focus of our practice, as well as individual reflection, based on our data.

Structuring Data Analysis for Effective School Development

How do we incorporate data into the Primary Development plan?

Each year we draft a Development Plan for the school, based on actions that will impact the learning outcomes of our students. The analysis of the GL Education assessment data plays a major role in identifying future targets and areas for development within the school.

How do we incorporate data into the Appraisal Process?

Every member of staff enters the appraisal process as a way to reflect on their practice and set targets to develop and impact teaching and learning. Along with setting personal targets, staff members must also set targets related to curriculum priorities and teaching & learning priorities. The “priority” targets are impacted by our data analysis.

Empowering School Leaders to Identify Meaningful Data

How do we train/inform staff members to use data?

Staff members receive a data binder at the start of each year with explanations, samples and policies of all our assessment practices. We have an inset specifically designed to explain results for PASS, CAT4® and Progress Test Series assessments. At the start of each year, we present the Assessment Analysis to our entire staff, where we highlight all of our positive trends and display areas for further development. Teachers are also given individual student results with support and explanations from the Assessment Coordinator, Student Welfare Coordinator and SMT.

How do we make data accessible?
Allowing data to be used by various school stakeholders, in a visual and easily understood way, was a main priority in order to develop the assessment practice at Riverside. This process began with the idea to create a web-based application, which would triangulate numerous data points, provide easily understood analysis for all staff stakeholders and impact our individual approach to teaching and learning. This data application, which we call “Student Assessment Portraits”, is used from Year 1 through Year 13. Through staff training, coaching and exercises, we have now begun to try and create an environment where all staff members can confidently understand and use data in a more meaningful way. This is an exciting opportunity, in which teachers and school leaders now have access to all relevant student assessment data.

Initial Reactions and Next Steps

The changes and development to our management structure, pedagogy and data culture have allowed for exciting opportunities within our school. We continue to look for new ways for school leaders to develop our current practice. Through the initiatives of our Teaching & Learning Coordinator, we have recently completed our first coaching cycle of the Student Portraits Application. We continue to look for those staff who may take a further role in coaching our data. Evidencing the impact or our practice will be essential, as we look to develop new initiatives, track teacher feedback and use of data, as well as analyzing any changes to the progress, achievement or well-being of our students.

Watch the webinar to hear more about the web application and about the school’s “student narrative” approach to training their teaching staff: