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What is the Families of Schools Database?

Often, when trying to ‘benchmark’ how well your school is doing academically, its performance is compared to local schools, or other schools in an academy chain, multi-academy trust (MAT), or other network.

However, these comparisons can be unfair because we are not necessarily comparing like with like. In particular, it is important when assessing a school’s results to consider the backgrounds of the pupils who attend.

The EEF has designed the Families of Schools database to support schools with meaningful benchmarking and to facilitate greater collaboration. This free, online tool:

  • provides key data on the attainment of your school’s disadvantaged pupils
  • shows your school’s position within a ‘family’ of 50 schools which have pupils with similar characteristics
  • highlights schools to collaborate with and key EEF resources to support your school’s improvement journey.

It uses the latest performance data published by the Department for Education. Schools are then placed into ‘families’ of 50 based on a range of characteristics, including prior attainment and the proportions of pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM), identified with English as an additional language (EAL), and with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Comparing your school to the other, similar schools in your ‘family’ provides you with a much better picture of how well your school is performing.

For example, it might be that, although your school has better results than the national average, it is actually under-performing when compared to schools with similar intakes of pupils. Or it could be the other way round, of course!