Leadership approaches, support and ideas from Bristol Brunel Academy

AP interview day part 1: The data task

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AP interview day part 1: The data task


Whether you are applying for a teaching and learning AP post or a pastoral position a data task is likely to be part of your interview day. Having been on both sides of the interview fence in recent years and supporting several colleagues in their preparation for their interviews I thought it could be useful to share what I have learnt so far. All data interpretation needs to answer the ‘so what?’, it should describe an action that takes place as a result of the data in front of you, this action should be measurable against a specific outcome. When we are action planning at my academy we use the following simple word frame

“Because we know that… we are planning to … we will know this is successful when…”

For example:

“Because we know that Free School Meals students achieved 30% lower in terms of 5A* – C including English and Maths last year, we are planning to identify all FSM students on teacher seating plans and track and monitor these individuals using a specific tracker. We will know this has been successful when mock exams show the gap is closing between FSM and non FSM students in the current cohort.”

The second part of this piece talks about the types of data you could expect to use in a data activity, more important than this is the ability to convert data into action, here are a few more examples of how you can do this:

Because we know that we are planning to we will know this is successful
Pupil Premium students are underperforming compared to their peers Identify and Track students through teachers seating plans and at whole school level.Plan a series of raising achievement  interventions to support these individuals in key subjects for example after school maths support or 1 to 1 English. Students are tracked against their non Pupil Premium peers as well as against national averages. This should result in students closing the gap with their peer groups and with national averages.
KS2 prior attainment shows a significant weakness in year 9 English levels Further investigate the specific aspects of English where students are underperforming through rigorous assessment. As a result of this investigations consideration placed into the curriculum on offer to these students, perhaps increase the number of English lessons per week. Students in this year group show an increased trajectory in terms of their levels of progress across the year group. They begin to move more in line with the other year groups in the school in terms of their attainment overall.
KS2 Level 4 students significantly underperformed in terms of Expected Progress in maths in year 11 Analyse the quality teaching and learning for students in middle sets across the academy. Identification of CPD needs for colleagues in teaching level 4 students, developing expertise for teaching this ability band across the maths team and ensuring the curriculum for these students is fit for purpose. Identification of these students on colleagues seating plans. Level 4 students are showing improved rates of progress across the age range. KS2 L4 Students in year 11 mock exams are showing a significant improvement compared to last year.


Data you may be asked to analyse:

The following section describes a few different sources of information you may be asked to look at or gain data from. Some of these pieces of data are taken from example pieces from the RAISE web site however you may be given data in an excel spreadsheet or printed directly from a school data system such as SISRA (example: or 4matrix ( example:, the ideas are still the same and the interpretation of this data into action still remains the vital part of the process

1. Get to know your school before the day – gain as much insight as possible about the school before you arrive. The DfE performance tables and Ofsted School Data Dashboard provide a wealth of information about the context of the school and, from this data you can begin to understand the context, performance and ability range of the students. Having an understanding of the school data before you begin an interview data task puts you at a real advantage over other candidates and levels the playing field with any internal candidates

2. Understand RAISE – Understanding this is vital for any member of SLT. It is the document that Ofsted inspectors analyse before they walk through your door and the very best inspectors are as familiar with your data as you are before the inspection even starts.  RAISE training is available all over the country from multiple providers and they provide their own training resources  on their web site here: (though this is a bit dry)       

3. Levels of progress matrices – The matrices below are one of the most common pieces of data used in any data task, getting an understanding of these is really easy but often trips people up. Down the left hand side you will see students KS2 level on arrival and across the top the grade the students achieved in year 11. The percentages (and usually a number of students in here as well) represent the percentage of students of each KS2 ability level that achieved each GCSE grade. Those in dark green have achieved expected progress (3 levels), those in light green have not, this is then summarised in the columns on the right. For example: Students arriving on level 3 55% achieved expected progress and 21% achieved good progress.


4. Understanding Context – Another piece of data to understand is the context of the school in terms of the measures Ofsted uses. For schools in challenging circumstances this is particularly important as it points to the challenges that are faced and compares these with national averages. The chart below is an extract from RAISE, it shows the comparison of the school to national by placing it into quintiles – for example a school in the 80th percentile for number on roll is one of the largest in the country with over 1307 students.


5. Key Groups or Vulnerable Groups – These are the groups of students identified nationally as being at risk of underperformance, they include Children Looked After and Free School Meals. Accountability for pupil premium spending being a high priority nationally, awareness and the ability to analyse the performance of these students is a priority for schools looking to recruit senior leaders.

6. Key stage 2 Prior Attainment – The table below shows the percentage of students in each band of key stage 2 attainment for each of the years groups in a school and a national average against which to compare it. You can see from this example that we have some interesting year groups – year 9 for example have the highest number of low ability students and the highest number of high ability students, it is also the only year group that has close to national average of high ability students. Looking for these patterns is easy, the challenge then becomes planning for this. The obvious thought here is how this impacts on your sets when curriculum planning for each of these year groups and where you may need to place more of your intervention for individuals.


7. Value added – This is a measure of how a group of individuals have performed based on their starting point and compared to national averages. It is based around a figure of 1000 (national average) with figures of 999 or below being a negative or underperformance and a figure of 1000 and above being positive. The table below shows the performance of students in year 11 in their best 8 subjects, English and maths. Also note the blue Sig-, this shows that this performance is (statistically) significantly below national average, if it was statistically above national average it would appear green and Sig +


And finally ….

The data task is probably going to be one of many tasks, panels or interviews on the day and, with a little work, can provide a great opportunity for you to show your understanding of school data and improvement planning.



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