Creating a Headteacher’s report, a simple task (well, sort of)……
The Headteacher’s report is a key strategic document for governors, it sets out the key academic, pupil and staffing performance for that term. However, it is also a challenging (and sometimes painfully time-consuming) document to write and present in a format that governors find engaging and useful.
With that in mind, we set about creating a template that would save Headteacher’s hours in report writing time, while also presenting all the information governors need in a format that they would love to receive. Simple.
Turns out it’s not that simple! However, after 2 years of development and producing termly reports for over 2,000 schools of all phases and types, we think we’ve cracked it!
Our ‘simple’ reporting platform allows you to produce a professional document on demand while we do all the behind the scenes stuff.
1. We customise your report to match your school phase and type
2. We then link in with your school MIS (e.g. SIMs, Integris, Arbor, ScholarPack etc) to synchronise your school data
3. Our data team crunch over 10 million DfE data points to produce national, LA and similar school benchmarking information
4. We add your specific report updates, new stories and achievements into the report
The Headteacher’s report is the single most important document when it comes to supporting your board in fulfilling the three core functions of governance (see Governor Handbook);
report should provide a strategic overview of the whole school, covering
everything from staffing performance to school improvement priorities. Given the potential scope of the report, many
Headteachers find it a challenge to strike the right balance between too much
and not enough information. A quick
search will bring up examples of Headteacher’s reports that vary in size from a
few pages to over 60.
Over the years, we have reviewed hundreds of Headteacher’s reports and have come across the good, the bad and the ugly!
These are our tips on how to produce a report that your governors will love to receive!
Remember the purpose of the report
The single purpose
of your Headteacher’s report is to keep your board focused on its strategic
function and to not get distracted by activities of secondary importance.
Keep the content of
your report focused and at a high-level to promote active discussion across the
board. Adding too much detail in your
report can lead the conversation down a more operational route.
As a rule of thumb, any information that does not help serve one of the 3 core functions should be omitted from the main report and included as appendices or communicated separately.
Remember who the report is for
Given the name, you
would be forgiven for thinking it is your report, however, both the Governor
Handbook and Education Act state that the content and scope of the report
should be determined by the board and include information it needs to do its
Asking your board
for a number of key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can produce
regularly in a consistent format is a simple but effective way that the board
can monitor school progress and improvement over a period of time.
We would recommend that KPIs are reviewed and agreed upfront at the start of each reporting cycle, this will ensure they are aligned with the current strategic priorities while also avoiding you being asked to produce information at the last minute.
To include graphs or not to include graphs
While the wrong
graph can cause confusion and take more time to explain than it would just to
write out the findings, the right graph can present your data in a clear and
easy to digest format that encourages strategic conversion to take place.
For example, graphs
are perfect to summarise data heavy sections such as pupil outcomes or for
making comparisons between two reporting periods. The use of high-level management commentary
can provide further context to the data if required.
Investigate different ways of presenting data in your report but make sure they are understood by your board.
Leave the comic sans (and pictures) behind
The Headteacher’s report is akin to a board report within a commercial environment and should be presented as a professional document. You may wish to consider the following when formatting your report;
>> Is your report as brief as possible while still providing the information that your board needs?
>> Can data heavy areas be effectively summarised in a chart or table?
>> Is it well structured? We find mirroring the Ofsted framework is a good way of structuring your report
>> Does your report include an explanation of any acronyms that have been used?
>> Are reports in a consistent format to help board members find the data they are looking for?
Don’t forget the good news!
A bit controversial
and against the grain of other guides but personally we like to read about the
good news, pupil achievements and the regular on-goings of school life.
Agreed it shouldn’t be front and centre of your report, but rather an appendix. This will help to re-enforce the positive impact the board is having on school life.
Coming soon: the option to link your school performance and pupil data
directly to the Headteacher’s Report.
We are always looking for ways to improve our reports and linking directly with your MIS data will not only mean your reports can be generated at a click of a button but that they are as up to date as possible. We are working on the link now and you can register your interest on our website.
MIS system that we linking with include SIMs, RM Integris and ScholarPack
New for this term.
Autumn term is always busy and this year has not been any different with over 8 DfE updates already. The data team has also added the gender split for the first time to our outcomes section.
The Headteacher’s Report (HTR) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) partnership will ensure schools leaders can access strategic reports that will save hours each term and provide governors / trustees key data in an easy to digest format.
ASCL speaks on behalf of members and acts on behalf of children and young people. ASCL is Britain’s leading professional body representing over 18,500 school and college leaders in all phases across the UK.
Working with ASCL helps us to further understand what school leaders want from our strategic reporting templates and to share best practice with its members
“I am really excited about our partnership with ASCL, the expertise within ASCL and their member will help ensure that The Headteacher’s Report remains the number one reporting template used by Headteachers” – Neil Charlton-Jones Co-Founder of HTR
“ASCL is very pleased to have entered into a partnership with Headteacher’s Report (HTR). This extremely useful tool will help school leaders to access strategic reports quickly and will also provide important relevant information in a readily understandable format for governors and/or trustees.” – (Malcolm Trobe CBE, ASCL Deputy General Secretary)