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What is Business Intelligence for Schools?

Business Intelligence, or BI as it’s thankfully abbreviated to, is the software that is analyses the data held in a Management Information System (MIS).  BI is a term well known in the business sector, but less widely used in Education … until now. 

It will enable you to:-

  • Access data
  • View it in simple format
  • Compare data
  • Act based on results

You probably feel like you’re quite literally drowning in data, but there is no point in storing it all if your School or Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) can’t use it effectively.  Enter BI to help you monitor your institution’s progress, which areas you are performing well in and which areas are a cause for concern.

What information might you need to know?

  • Attendance figures, by school, year, gender
  • RAG Rating
  • Persistent Absenteeism
  • Free School Meals
  • Pupil Premium

Of course there is loads more information that you will regularly need access to but this gives you an idea of how it could look.

Education is following the example of the business sector and utilising these BI tools.  Most Schools and MAT’s use SIMS but don’t have an easy way of viewing the school analytics.  Instead, you might have spent countless hours manually piecing together the information and designing the spreadsheets to do your reports.  Business Intelligence can free you up to analyse the data rather than spending all your time collating and organising it.

If any of this is ringing true with you then maybe it is time that you re-think your BI and turn it into a force for good.  The use of pre designed charts can produce the insights you need within minutes, rather than hours or days.  Let’s face it, the huge amount of data you hold is only going to increase, not reduce!

Given access to real-time data that you can actually understand can turn your working life upside down – in a good way.  Being able to see red flags such as a persistently absent pupil, or a class or student that is struggling enables you to intervene.  It changes the whole way of working from a reactive one to a proactive one.

Whilst it may seem scary to jump straight on the BI bandwagon, it really isn’t …. baby steps is all you need to do.  Don’t throw out what you’ve got and go and invest in a big MIS that supposedly also provides reporting.  Look at external BI solutions that have specifically been developed for education.  This will invariably be a much more cost-effective and less evasive option.

Check out this brief Explainer Video.

Posted on April 15th 2021

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