February 2019

LA Digest

What's happening at FFT and in the world of education.

Dear colleague...

Welcome to our first LA Partner Digest, a round up of the news and developments at FFT that we'd like to share and feel would be of benefit to you and your colleagues.

We have recently completed our round-the-country trips for our LA Partner Meetings, where we met with many of you in person, providing our yearly update of Aspire and FFT news. Thank you to all who took time out of their busy schedules to join us. Your input is valuable and very much appreciated.

This round-up is a summary of what we shared at these meetings, in case you weren't able to join us. Please do peruse our latest news, and if you have any feedback, we are as always keen to hear from you.

Paul Charman
Managing Director

Record numbers of schools accessing their FFT Aspire data – over twice as many as this time last year.

Aspire Usage

As well as a brief round-up of our autumn term highlights, which included new special reports, site merge and new pupil KS1/2 target setting, we were pleased to reported on Aspire usage figures for 2018.

Each LA in attendance at our Partner Meetings is provided with a bespoke up to date report indicating the Aspire usage across their schools.

Across all LAs we were able to report:

  • 37,000 active Aspire users in 2018.
  • 430,000 Aspire logins in 2018 (2017: 370,00).
  • 12,110 schools using Aspire in 2018 (2016: 11,309)

For more information on Aspire Usage stats and figures, and to see the sample bespoke reports we provide, please contact our Subscription Team who will be able help.


Updated Aspire T&Cs

At the meeting we also confirmed our new updated T&Sc for April 2019. New standard terms will include the latest DfE standard clauses (from ASP and NPD agreements) and some GDPR changes (as already provided in FFT's Privacy Policy).

The new T&Cs will be included in a simple one page agreement when purchasing Aspire for an LA or school, that includes price information, subscription term and the schools included.


The timetable for LA subscription renewals was outlined, with the deadline for decisions indicated as end of January 2019.

If we are still awaiting your subscription renewal, please get in touch as soon as possible.

Invoices will be sent out from February 2019 half term onwards, unless requested otherwise. 


Training for LAs and schools

Stephen Turp, our training lead, did a round-up of Aspire training we've delivered for schools in 2018.

  • 108 training courses / roadshows
  • 3,500 delegates attended
  • 23 locations.

Looking forward, the training offer for 2019/20 includes new in-school twilight sessions, and our customary complimentary training for subscribing LAs.

  • Up to two days of training and support for LA partners (options on content)
  • Up to three complimentary sessions from our scheduled programme.

To find out more about what is available and how to reach the training booking team, visit our training website.

Autumn Roadshow recap

We provided a recap of some of the key content from the autumn roadshows, in which we had explored the new national baseline assessment for primary and infant schools, in use from autumn 2020. We posed the questions for which Aspire could be used for reporting:

  • What patterns do we see emerging in early years, and
  • How might schools be affected by the changes to progress measures?

Sample EYFS overview reports, regional mapping of EYFS performance, and progress ranking scatterplots were shown, all of which can be viewed in the slide presentation from the day.

For secondary roadshows we provided insight to the curriculum challenges for school leaders as they respond to new accountability measures and changing subject entry patterns (Progress 8 and Ebacc). And we looked forward to the future of greater emphasis on curriculum heralded by Ofsted's new 2019 inspection framework (currently in consultation), by demonstrating how to use Aspire's KS4 curriculum benchmarking report to asses and inform on subject performance.

Early Results Service

Our Early Results Service, launched in 2018, was exceptionally well received and we reported on the take-up from subscribing schools.

  • 2,600 schools uploaded KS1 results for over 125,000 pupils - Aspire report provided results early July 2018
  • 1,765 schools uploaded KS4 results - 290,000 pupils - Aspire report provided results early September

FFT's research team were able to provide early insights to the results:

"The percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard (or above) in reading and maths TAs increases in line with reading test related scores."

"Infant schools in the sample were more likely to asses pupils who scored below 100 in a test as being at or above the expected standard in each of reading and maths."

The Service will continue in 2019, with KS1 and enhanced KS4 reports planned. We'll be adding KS2 results in July, and possibly KS5 in September if there is sufficient demand. A small LA steering group is meeting in March to discuss requirements for LA early results data.

Aspire Data Exchange

Our newest development, Aspire Data Exchange (ADX), which connects directly to a school’s management information system - ensuring analysis, targets and tracking data is up to date - is now live in its first roll-out phase. Syncing at the click of a button is now possible for connected schools. 

A small number of schools piloted it last summer, and the autumn roll-out was very successful, with over 2,500 schools signing up and now connected via one of the 'service partners' connectors (Assembly, Groupcall or Wonde). New schools join every day.

Future roll-out plans for next year included expanding to 6,000 schools in 2019 and 12,000 in 2010. 

We gathered feedback at the partner meetings on what ADX areas we should prioritise for schools and LAs in the future.

  • Context data
  • Attendance reporting
  • Adding classes / teaching groups
  • Other?

Click here to find out more about Aspire Data Exchange.

Pupil Tracking

Aspire Pupil Tracking has been in development since last year, following demand from schools for some time. It will create the ability to use to Aspire to continually analyse data about current pupils from tests and teacher assessments. 

Monitoring pupil progress and predictive analytics using FFT's estimates of future performance will be part of the functionality.

We are close to the first release phase of Aspire Pupil Tracking for primary schools, with 300 schools joining the Early Adopter Programme in April 2019. Set up in the same way as Aspire Data Exchange, the data from Exchange will populate Pupil Tracking. Full release for primary schools is planned for autumn 2019, and in autumn 2020 for secondary schools. 

At the LA Meetings we gained valuable feedback on the pricing structure in relation to LA subscriptions. Aspire Pupil Tracking will be free for all subscribing schools up to April 2020, after which there will be subscription charge for use. 

2019 Development Roadmap

A whistle stop tour through the key FFT developments planned for 2019-20:

  • Single sign-on, enabling access to interactive Aspire Analytics (tableau) reports - available summer 2019
  • Question Level Analysis reports for primary schools - starting with Maths reports, available imminently
  • KS5 summary dashboards - spring 2019
  • LA scatterplots, view all schools on a single scatterplot for any key stage - summer 2019
  • Aspire notes, collaborative tool - pipeline
  • Aspire attendance reports - for ADX schools, early adopters summer 2019

LA Aspire Analytics

Usage of Aspire Analytics continues to grow, with 171 unique LA users logging in since January 2018, and 140 LA delegates attending training desktop events around the country over the past year. 

Going forward, FFT Tableau Doctors will be available from March, providing bookable one hour slots for 1-2-1 screen share sessions, aimed at getting the best from your data and reports. Hands-on training courses are also planned for the summer.

FFT Education Datalab - Similar schools tool

Developments from our research arm FFT Education Datalab continue in earnest. As well as input to our wide range of Special Reports and its own regular research blogposts, the team have been developing a Similar Schools tool, that will allow schools and LAs to find other schools in similar circumstances. After identifying similar schools, you can explore their data and compare performance. 

Launch is imminent. To ensure you receive immediate notification, click here and make sure you are signed up to receive blogposts from FFT Education Datalab as they come out. 


The timetable for LA subscription renewals was outlined, with the deadline for decisions indicated as end of January 2019.

If we are still awaiting your subscription renewal, please get in touch as soon as possible.

Invoices will be sent out from February 2019 half term onwards, unless requested otherwise.