Frequently asked questions

What is the School Data Dashboard?

The School Data Dashboard provides a high level summary of a school's performance data. The data are presented in a simple, accessible way to ensure that users do not require an in-depth knowledge of school statistics to use it.

What type of information is covered in the School Data Dashboard?

Data are provided for Key Stages 1, 2 and 4. Measures include:

Additional measures for special schools include:

How do I access the School Data Dashboard?

The School Data Dashboard is publicly available online and a search facility allows users to search by school name, town, postcode or URN. The dashboard is also available via each provider’s page on the Ofsted website.

These pages hold the school inspection reports and are accessible via this link. The report can be printed in pdf form for the key stage of interest. For governors and school leaders, the data underlying the reports and much more detail about school performance are available in RAISEonline. Governors should approach their school to gain access to the data. The Governor questions should help to guide conversations between governors and school leaders, and directs users to the relevant data in RAISEonline.

What do we mean by similar schools?

Each school has its own group of ‘similar schools‘ for each measure on the dashboard. For 2013 similar schools, Ofsted has aligned its methodology with the Department for Education (DfE) similar schools methodology. The technical guidance for the DfE methodology can be found here:
The methodology used to define schools as similar and to group them is:

Therefore, the pupils of all schools in the same similar schools group have similar prior attainment and therefore those schools are predicted to achieve similar outcomes for their pupils.

The measure does not take into account other contextual factors such as deprivation or levels of special educational needs because these factors should already be reflected in the prior attainment of the pupils. Key Stage 2 schools are compared with the most similar 124 schools, for Key Stage 4 with the most similar 54. There is no similar school comparison for Key Stage 1 data.

What are the differences between the Ofsted and DfE similar schools measures?

Although Ofsted have aligned their methodology with the DfE for grouping similar schools in 2013, there are some key differences between the approaches. These are as follows:

Why has my school’s quintile position not improved even though the results have?

It is possible for the school to remain in the same quintile position or to move down in quintile position, even when the results have improved in the latest year.
For quintiles against all schools, this will occur if the school has improved but not at the same rate as schools nationally. For the similar schools quintiles, the unique groups of similar schools will change from year to year. This is because the groups are based on the prior attainment of the pupil group taking the tests or exams (in the latest year) and future cohorts of pupils will have different prior attainment.

Why are some data suppressed?

In order to protect individuals from being identified, data are suppressed when the number of pupils in the cohort is fewer than six. In the closing the gap section, all data are suppressed if the cohort in either the 'disadvantaged' or 'other' pupil group is fewer than six.

Why are some of my data missing?

Data could be missing from a dashboard for three main reasons:
If you are using the web-based dashboard tool then information on why data are missing can be accessed by placing your mouse over the blue question mark at the side of the chart.

Which schools are dashboards available for?

The School Data Dashboard publishes data for maintained primary and secondary schools, maintained special and non-maintained special schools which are open at the time of publication and for which data exist.

Academies are publicly-funded independent schools that benefit from greater freedom to innovate and raise standards.

Academy converters are maintained schools which have converted to academies.

Where a school has converted to become an academy, the data for the school prior to conversion are linked to the new academy data and displayed on the dashboard.

For schools that have recently closed, or are in the process of closing, data will be available until the school is removed from the eligible schools list and the dashboard is updated. Data concerning these schools are available from the Department for Education performance tables. For new schools, which do not have data for a full academic year, no dashboards are available.

Why doesn’t my school have a dashboard?

Dashboards are produced for new schools once there is a full academic year of data available. For example, schools that opened in or before September 2012 will have dashboards released in 2014.
If your school has recently merged, it is possible that the dashboard shows data related to the school prior to the merger. We are working with EduBase to resolve this issue. However, please contact us at if your school has recently merged but has a data dashboard.

How do I print the dashboard?

Standard measures presented on the Schools Data Dashboard can be printed in PDF by clicking on the ‘Download PDF’ icon to the right of the tabs presented for each Key Stage. The PDF will cover the measures for the Key Stage of interest. To print data the measures for low attainers in special schools select the tab ‘All reports’ within one of the Key Stages and click on the printer icon to the right of the tab titles. A new window will open with an option to print at the top. If you have selected a tab containing specific measures, for example, progress, then clicking the printer icon will open a new window showing only the progress measures for the Key Stage.

How is the disadvantaged pupils category defined?

The disadvantaged pupils category includes pupils who were eligible for free school meals (FSM) at any point during the last six years and children looked after (CLA). CLA are pupils who have been looked after continuously for six months (>=183 days) during the year and are aged between five and fifteen. The data do not cover those children looked after under respite care.

How will the School Data Dashboard be used by inspectors?

Inspectors will continue to take account of a wide range of data when gathering evidence for their inspection judgements. The data on the dashboard are already used by inspectors alongside more detailed analyses, with the exception of the comparison with similar schools, which is new.
Inspectors will now expect school governors to be familiar with the measures presented in the School Data Dashboard for their school. The publication of the dashboard does not reflect a change in the School inspection framework.

How can I suggest changes and improvements to the School Data Dashboard?

We will be pleased to hear how we can make the School Data Dashboard more useful to governors and members of the public. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please contact us at

Who do I contact if I find any problems accessing the School Data Dashboard?

If you have problems accessing the dashboard, please contact us at

What are the special school measures and why are they different to the standard dashboard measures?

Special school measures present data for pupils who are working below the expected level (of the National Curriculum) for their age group. The attainment and progress of these pupils are measured using the Performance Scales (P scales). The P scales operate independently of chronological age and are split into eight levels with P1i being the lowest and P8 the highest. Level P8 leads into National Curriculum Level 1.

Pupils at special schools who are working at the expected level for their age will have data published in line with the standard Schools Data Dashboard.

Measures on the dashboard which cover low attainers in special schools are indicated by a tab containing the Key Stage followed by *, for example, Key Stage 2*.

Why do you compare SEN measures to the national levels for secondary schools?

The use of data in the Dashboard is consistent with their use in RAISEonline.

Secondary school national levels are shown for the following measures:

Data from special schools are included in the national levels for Key Stage 4 examination results and closing the gap measures but are not included in any attendance or context measures.

For context and attendance, the Dashboard compares special school data to national secondary data.

Data SEN and attendance data from special schools are not included in national data because their inclusion would skew the contextual comparisons for mainstream schools. Including special schools in the national level data for gender and number on roll may not skew the levels but historically there have been no national figures created solely for special schools, rather the national level used as a comparator is the secondary school national level. For consistency, given these differences, the range of contextual data from special schools are not therefore included in the national dataset <

For the attendance measure the national level for secondary schools is displayed on the dashboard. A national level for special schools is not shown due to the small number and diverse range of special schools. This will be reviewed for future versions of the dashboard.

Why don’t you show quintiles for special school measures?

The diverse nature of special schools and small cohort sizes mean that, for example, some schools may provide education solely for pupils with learning difficulties whilst other schools may provide education solely for pupils with physical impairments.

It is not appropriate to compare these schools on measures of performance as we cannot expect all pupils in special schools to attain similar outcomes.

Why have you aggregated the p scales in the special school dashboards?

P scale data has been aggregated due to the low numbers of pupils in each category at school level. Aggregating p scale data allows us to present data which we would otherwise need to suppress. For example, a school may have 2 pupils working at p1i, 3 pupils working at p2 and 3 pupils working at p3. As the number of pupils working at each p scale number less than 6 we would need to suppress this data however if we combine p scales 1i to 3 then the number of pupils totals 8 and we are able to present this data in the dashboards.

How do I find special schools with a similar intake to the school I am interested in?

Using the dashboard of the special school you are interested in select the context tab and scroll down to the section at the bottom of the page titled ‘Special Educational Needs.’ This section contains a list of the type of provision offered by the school.

Clicking on the link ‘Search for schools with similar special needs provision’ will open an excel spread sheet with different types of SEN provision listed as column titles. By selecting the arrow in each column heading, users can filter by ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to match the provision to the school of interest.

Why are all pupils included in the Key Stage 4 SEN attainment and closing the gap measures?

Data to identify pupils working below the level of the national curriculum at Key Stage 4 are not available in RAISE online. The dashboard attainment and closing the gap measures presented for Key Stage 4* differ from those presented in the standard Key Stage 4 sections in two ways designed to ensure that pupils working below age-related expectations are picked up by the dashboard:

Why do some of the measures for low attaining pupils in special schools contain data which differs from the data in RAISE online?

Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 attainment data presented in the special school dashboards may differ from that published in RAISE online. For the purpose of the special school dashboards data are presented for pupils who are working below the level of the tests (B). In contrast data displayed on RAISE online also takes into account pupils without a valid Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2 result and pupils who are not graded as ‘B’.

What are the implications for schools with very small cohort sizes?

The data for schools with very small cohorts are likely to be more volatile from year to year due to the progress and attainment of individual pupils having a larger impact on the overall data.

The Data Dashboard does provide a summary of results data over a three year period to avoid too much focus on the latest year. The context page is also there to provide information on the cohort size and other pupil and school characteristics. The dashboard is designed to be a starting point for governors to support and challenge school leaders about their performance data, and governors are expected to use RAISEonline to look at the data in more detail.

Ofsted inspection reports
Department for Education performance tables
RAISEonline (Please note that RAISEonline is accessible to governors and school staff but not to members of the public.)