This course is excellent; because the focus is just on Year 9, everything is relevant. We looked at how to help pupils improve study skills and how to develop mentoring and support strategies, but it was the data analysis that I found most interesting. I'm a physicist, so I always enjoy a spot of number-crunching.
The course leader used to work for Ofsted and he's able to explain exactly how an inspector uses a school's data and what they are looking for. During the day we tried out the software that Ofsted produces. It's quite different from the Fischer Family Trust program we've been using at our school, and allows you to be creative in your approach.
Data analysis is often used to spot pupils who might struggle, but it can be just as valuable at the other end of the ability range. Using what I learnt on the course, I've been able to identify a group of Year 9 pupils who are potentially university material but who come from families with no experience of higher education.
It's allowed us to start paving the way early on, by talking to parents about university and what it involves. In a few years' time they should be well briefed and more comfortable with the idea. That's what data does: it allows you to set appropriate targets and then look to the future.
Ian Froggett teaches at Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College in Bedworth, Warwickshire. He was talking to Steven Hastings.
Raising Attainment in Year 9 - Sats without Splats! is run by Creative Education. This term the course runs in Manchester (May 14); Leeds (June 10); Cardiff (June 19); Birmingham (June 30); Liverpool (July 3) and Southampton (July 9). Cost pound;270 plus VAT.
Visit www.creative education.co.ukcourse_details.asp?RefNo=7280.