New “Families of Schools database” will help schools collaborate and improve attainment

A new interactive database of all secondary schools in England will allow schools to compare their own performance with other similar schools across the country, learning from the best performing institution in each family.

The “families of schools” tool puts schools into groups of 50 based on factors including prior attainment, percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals and the number of children with English as an additional language. The attainment of pupils on a range of measures can then be compared with similar schools. This will allow schools to understand the size and nature of their attainment gap in relation to other similar institutions for the first time and also learn from the best performing schools in their family.

Schools can also use the database to look at their performance in narrowing the attainment gap over the past three years and look at future projections based on how the school has performed in the past. Presenting the data in this way allows schools to identify early what changes need to be made for the attainment of pupils to improve in the future. There are currently large variations between schools in terms of the size of their attainment gap.

A typical family would have a difference of 12 ‘Best 8’ GCSE points between the best and worst performing school in each family. This means that in the best school, the average pupil would be getting 1.5 grades higher in each of their 8 GCSE subjects, compared to the lowest . In some schools, pupils eligible for free school meals actually make better progress than their peers. Nationally, using an average point score measure (like best 8 GCSEs or average fine grade KS2 score), the attainment gap between FSM pupils and their peers has narrowed slightly at KS2 and KS4 over the past three years, but at the current rate of progress, it will still take over 20 years to close.

The Families of Schools tool is a starting point for school leaders. Understanding the most promising approaches to close the attainment gap is the next step. Other new developments on the EEF website, including case studies of outstanding schools and the established Teaching and Learning Toolkit, offer practical guidance on evidence-based approaches for improving the outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

The EEF has worked with Fischer Family Trust to compile the Families of Schools database.

Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation said;

“Our new database will allow schools to see where they stand in narrowing the attainment gap amongst their most similar counterparts. This will give school leaders a clear indication of their own strengths and weaknesses as well as creating a valuable opportunity for collaboration between schools.

“We hope the families of schools resource will lead to the best performing schools sharing their knowledge with those doing less well, and schools near the bottom of their family being able to identify which similar institutions they can learn from.

“The attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their more affluent peers remains persistently large, but by working together and learning from one another we hope schools can make significant progress towards narrowing it.”

Notes to editors

  • 1.The Education Endowment Foundation is a charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust, with a Department for Education grant of £125m. It is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement through evidence-based research. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £52 million to 93 projects working with over 630,000 pupils in over 4,500 schools across England.
  • 2.Schools are grouped into ‘families’ based upon five key criteria:
CriteriaWeighting
Average prior attainment in years 7-1140%
Variance in prior attainment in years 7-115%
%FSM6 Y7-Y1125%
%EAL Y7-Y1120%
Percentage of pupils in highest and lowest IDACI bands10%

Fischer Family Trust is a non-profit company providing data and analyses to all schools and LAs in England and Wales. FFT have been processing the National Pupil Database for the Department for Education since 2004.

www.educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk

The Education Endowment Foundation was founded in 2011 by lead charity The Sutton Trust, in partnership withImpetus Trust (now part of Impetus – The Private Equity Foundation), with a £125m grant from the Department for Education. Registered address: 9th Floor, Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP. The EEF is a charity and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England : No. 1142111