The FFT story

FFT is a not-for-profit organisation aiming to making a difference in education, raising aspirations for all pupils and driving school improvement.

2001: FFT is founded

Mike Fischer, founder of Fischer Family Trust, and Mike Treadaway decide to start a project working with local authorities (LAs) to analyse school performance data. Some 34 LAs join the project straight away, an office is opened in Cardiff and FFT starts to provide analyses for use by local authorities and schools (on a CD).

In 2002 FFT starts development of its Contextual Value Added model to analyse school performance. The model is available to schools and local authorities in 2003.

2004: Established as the national education data experts

The Department for Education (DfE) awards a contract to FFT to process the National Pupil Database in England. By now, all LAs in England and Wales subscribe to FFT and we start development of our contextual value added model to analyse school performance. FFT is involved in the DFE VAMAG (Value Added Methodology Advisory Group) leading to development of new analyses for schools including contextual value added and Families of Schools (comparison to similar schools).

2005: FFT goes online

FFTLive, FFT’s online reporting tool, is launched making it much easier for schools and LAs to access and use FFT’s data.

2006: National Pupil Database grows

RM and FFT win a new contract with DfE to process the National Pupil Database and Performance Tables in England. FFT starts to match and process larger volumes of data including termly census returns from schools for all pupils and student information from further and higher education.

2008: Expanding team, a national voice

With schools and LAs making increasing use of FFTLive, FFT’s team expands to 15 people. FFTLive is now firmly established as the main source of independent data to support target setting and school self-evaluation alongside RAISEonline (provided by DFE/Ofsted).

Schools and LAs like FFTLive because it gets our online analyses of school performance out very quickly for schools to use in the autumn term to drive school improvement planning.

2010: Big data

Each year FFT processes and matches seven million pupil records for the National Pupil Database. Using the latest pupil and school data, FFT calculates over 250 million subject estimates in FFTLive for pupils across all key stages (age five to 18). FFTLive has 100,000 registered school users who view over three million interactive reports each year to analyse school performance.

2013: Joining the dots

Twelve years on and with a team of 30 people led by four experienced Directors, FFT is the leading independent provider of education data for schools in the UK. FFT continues to process education data for the government, but its main focus is providing insightful information to schools which enables pupils achieve their full potential and schools to improve.

Working with national partners, FFT launches the new Governor Dashboard, Self-Evaluation Booklet and its new website. In 2013 FFT also wins the Welsh Government contract for maintaining the Welsh Examination Database.

2014: An exciting year for FFT

Now in its thirteenth year, FFT appoint Paul Charman as managing director.

FFT Aspire – a new data analysis tool for schools and LAs, which will replace FFTLive – is launched. FFT Aspire provides schools with a broader and richer set of data using the latest curriculum and accountability measures.

At the same time, Aspire is easier to use, presenting complex school performance data, target setting and benchmarking information in a visual way which can be easily understood and interpreted by all teachers, governors and school leaders.

The Welsh Government renews its contract with FFT to continue its School Value Added work. FFT also wins contracts to carry out 14-19 Matching Attainment work, and Post-16 Value Added work in Wales.

2015: Cutting-edge research

Education Datalab, supported by FFT, is launched, producing independent, cutting-edge research that can be used by policy makers to inform education policy, and by schools to improve practice. FFT Education Datalab works collaboratively with research partners and makes sure its published research is accessible to policy makers and schools.

FFT Aspire Collaborate revolutionises how schools across England share performance data.

2019: Tracking

Aspire grows to include pupil tracking for primary schools, letting schools analyse pupil progress throughout the academic year.

2020: Attendance Tracker

The crucial role of attendance in pupils' progress is supported by Aspire's dedicated attendance monitoring module for primary and secondary schools.

2021: Tutoring and Phonics

FFT expands to offer tutoring to schools. At the same time, Success For All becomes a part of FFT with a growing list of literacy programmes.

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