How do you ensure that pastoral staff, at all levels, are able to be proactive when supporting children with their attendance, punctuality and behaviour?
It is essential that existing systems are used to ensure that Form Tutors, Heads of Year and Senior Leaders have the relevant data for attendance, punctuality and behaviour so that they can act on “information” rather than “gut feelings”. Information really is power as it allows you to identify patterns, trends and also gives you a vital starting point when engaging in dialogue with children and parents.
A Form Tutor that has access to data can speak to a child and the starting point could be “I see you received 2 sanctions last week. Why do you think that was? Is there anything that you need support with?”. This approach is far more proactive and supportive and will mean that a Form Tutor really can have a positive impact on a child and possibly prevent issues escalating up to the Head of Year and beyond.
Of course data should also be used to highlight success and allow all to celebrate. For example, a Head of Year can use attendance data to identify a child that has previously had a spate of absences, received interventions such as attendance letters and parent meetings, but has now not missed a day in 4 weeks. Praising the child, and sending a positive communication to parents, ensures that the child and parents feel valued and also that they know the school really cares about the child. It is all too easy to only focus on the children doing the wrong thing. Data allows us to have a strong overview of all the children so that both positives and negatives can be identified.
I will outline below examples of the information I provide pastoral staff at all levels in my school. All school management information systems (e.g. SIMS, Arbor..) will allow you to do generate this information. Please contact your school data lead if you require any further support.
Weekly Pupil Summary Reports
I have set up an automated report that is emailed to all Form Tutors and Heads of Year every Monday at 7am. This report has a tab for each form group and for each child in a form the following data is included:
- Attendance to date
- Attendance last week
- Punctuality last week (lates to registration, lates to lessons)
- Total House Points to date
- House Points last week
- A breakdown of the different reward points and sanctions last week
Attendance Tracking Spreadsheets
I have created an attendance spreadsheet (Google Sheet) which gives the latest attendance % for every pupil on a weekly basis. This allows all pastoral staff to monitor each child and spot trends. This spreadsheet is also where interventions are recorded so that there is a clear record of what we have done as a school.
Every senior meeting in my school starts with a look at attendance. I produce a 1 page overview where the attendance is compared with the previous 2 academic years and is also broken down by the different demographics. These groups are often then broken down further to allow specific issues to be identified. The senior team are then able to all contribute to strategies and interventions to target identified issues. For example, we may note that the pupil premium pupils have a lower attendance than the non-pupil premium pupils. Breaker that down further into year groups helps target the support.
Creating a Pastoral Team that is able to function consistently and proactively is extremely powerful. Not only will the adults feel part of a well oiled machine where data is used in an effective way, the children will feel that there really is a team across the school working to support them who communicate and are well informed. The effective use of data ensures that the pastoral care of a child can truly be the responsibility of all.