OFSTED and Raiseonline – should it just be up to Boffins in a bunker? What would you change?

As I said in my last blog Mike Cladingbowl said at our meeting that in his opinion Raiseonline was too complicated and cited an example of colleagues poring over a scatter graph when there were only thirty children in the cohort.

If my memory serves me, when Raiseonline was first launched, the Full Report was roughly 50 pages. Since then it has grown to over 90!

For me, Raiseonline has always reminded me of that Jeff Goldblum quote from Jurassic Park – the bit where the characters are sitting around the table discussing the merits and other wise of the park. Ian Malcolm (Goldblum’s character) says, of creating the dinosaurs, “You were so busy trying to see if you could, you never stopped to think whether you should!” The copious charts of every variety in Raise have a similar feel. They smack of boffins in a bunker thinking of ever more unusual ways to display data. Like decorating their Christmas tree the motivating question appears to be “But could we do it like this?” – I wonder if the DFE had to print, bind and post the document whether it would be so long?

When I tweeted Mike’s comments a interesting exchange took place in which genuinely interesting ideas were put forward to improve Raiseonline. I have listed some of them here:




The FFT dashboard came out favourably as here:


So the question is, if Raiseonline were no longer to be solely the preserve of Boffins in a Bunker – what would you change? What would you like to see in? I look forward to the debate:

Debate update:
Since I posted this blog the following ideas have been put forward:

A point made about PRU’s access to Raiseonline:


Also the question of “Who are the Boffins in the bunker”? Are they the data wranglers at Raiseonline towers or are they also school leadership teams?


Exciting to see some activism as here from Charlotte:

And more people interested in shaping a future Raise:

Thank you for the debate so far!







2 thoughts on “OFSTED and Raiseonline – should it just be up to Boffins in a bunker? What would you change?

  1. An interesting perspective. I think that we need to be careful about ensuring that we are focussing on the same priority. I agree that if systems are built by boffins then there is a risk that they will be marginalised and not focus on what is important. As someone who has over 10 years in school improvement with a focus on improving data literacy- I know that a system is more than just the technology. RAISE and indeed all data models are not perfect. But the national data that we have is widely regarded as being the best in the world. This includes robustness and indeed quality.

    If we want to ensure that improvements are system-driven, we need to ensure that there is greater involvement of those that use these tools. However, this involvement must be done in an informed manner. Identifying that something is complicated and that changes are required should not be a conclusion without engaging appropriately.

    I believe that there is a training need which needs to be addressed. There is no nationalised/ formal training in the use of performance data. Training indeed for inspectors also remains limited (as far as I am aware). Training and support is essential if we are to ensure that judgements based on data are robust.

    It is in my opinion essential that the use of data and information remain a key tool for inspectors to use in inspections. But, equally leaders at all levels in schools must use this information to drive improvement.

    So would it not be even better if everyone could use and engage in the data on an equal level. To achieve this a common understanding is important otherwise the redesign of a new system will simply continue to cause challenges and not necessarily solve the original problem. I want to irradiate the view that it is only the ‘boffins’ that engage as I do not think it is useful if there is to be an appropriate debate about how our schools continue to improve.

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