Last Updated: Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tracking, monitoring and reporting in the primary sector: West Lothian Council

What is this?

This example of good practice focuses on efforts by West Lothian Council to streamline the tracking, monitoring and reporting process. It is part of the Tackling bureaucracy and addressing undue workload in schools set of case studies.

Who is this for?

Those interested in tackling bureaucracy and addressing undue workload in schools will find this example of practice useful.

Explore this example of practice

What was done and why?

As part of the West Lothian Council’s ‘Moving Forward in Learning’ approach to collaborative improvements, the reporting and profiling group sought to create a streamlined reporting document that provided parents/carers with relevant information about their child’s learning and progress but also reduced the expectation on staff in terms of time required to provide that information.

Having sampled reporting documents used in other local authorities, a draft template was devised and shared amongst 12 schools as part of a pilot. Each of the 12 schools engaged with their staff and Parent Councils to discuss the draft template and provide feedback to the group.

Following this consultation, the ‘pilot template’ report was agreed and used by the 12 pilot schools.

A streamlined reporting document

The format of the report provides parents with information regarding the level which their child is working within for each curriculum area; how they are progressing in terms of the ‘nationally expected’ progress; and their attitude to learning in that area. This is done using an agreed coding system, which can also be fed in to the school’s tracking system and is used as part of the professional dialogue during planning and attainment meetings to monitor pupil progress.

Teaching staff also provide bulleted information on the strengths and next steps for the child in English/Literacy, Maths/Numeracy and HWB, as well as commenting on their strengths across any other areas of the curriculum.

An important addition to the report was a section for staff to comment on the child’s general approach, attitude and performance in school, thus ensuring the reports are personalised.

This approach is possible in the context of the effective ongoing engagement with parents/carers in their child’s learning journey e.g. through profiles; sharing the learning opportunities in school etc.

The outcome

This work has resulted in an agreed authority-wide reporting document for session 2016/17, following the positive feedback from headteachers, teaching staff and parents/carers.

West Lothian is happy to be contacted by anyone interested in seeing the document referred to.

The reporting and profiling group has now been working closely with the authority’s monitoring and tracking group to align a new tracking system to the reporting document to ensure that there is no duplication required for teachers in terms of providing information. This is being piloted in this session in a small number of schools and is planned to be widely shared as the current session progresses.

What positive impact has this work had?

  • The pilot phase of the new reporting document has been very well received by teaching staff in terms of reducing workload, as well as meeting the needs and requirements for parents/carers in terms of information they receive about their child’s learning and progress across all areas of the curriculum.
  • The design of the report is easily accessible for all staff and the format is very user friendly. Feedback from teaching staff in the pilot schools has been very positive with regards to time required to complete reports and in terms of the format focussing on the child as an individual.
  • The new reporting document also provides relevant transition information, again removing previous duplication in teachers’ workload, ensuring that schools are able to monitor and track pupil progress at the early stages of each session.
  • In pilot schools, the tracking spreadsheet is regularly reviewed and updated as part of the school’s monitoring procedures, and is based on teacher professional judgement. This will result in the local authority being able to centrally pull attainment information for any local or national returns, reducing the requirement on schools being asked to submit this information separately from their own tracking and monitoring procedures.
  • Feedback from parents/carers was gathered throughout the process of developing the new reporting document. Each of the pilot schools summarised this and provided a positive outcome.