RAISEonline replacement could increase costs for schools when budgets are already overstretched
RAISEonline, the school performance analysis service provided by the Department for Education (DfE), closed on 31 July. And schools are already struggling to understand GCSE data now RAISEonline is defunct according to Schools Week.
RAISEonline’s replacement, Analyse Schools Performance (ASP), will not provide the same service offered by RAISEonline. The DfE Online Specification* for its replacement makes it clear:
‘The DfE RAISEonline replacement will not produce the Data Management function that currently exists within RAISE and will not include any predictive or risk analysis. Access to school real-time data through the replacement service is also out of scope.’
The DfE hoped schools would be able to access ‘value-add, innovative services’ provided by accredited suppliers, those organisations who successfully bid for the RAISEonline replacement service.
The specification said taking up services from an accredited supplier would be ‘entirely optional’ and schools would be free to use ‘other packages that support them understand performance’. But as the accredited suppliers will be allowed ‘privileged early access to education performance data’* via DfE ‘commercial arrangements’ it’s hard to see how data analysis tools offered by other organisations could compete.
Liam Collins, head of Uplands Community College, a community school in East Sussex, told Schools Week that ASP provided only ‘a very flat piece of data’ which was ‘massively different’ to RAISEonline. ASP has no data analysis so the school will have to consider purchasing this from a private company, he said.
It appears, then, that schools will now have to pay for a service formally provided free by RAISEonline. This will add to school costs at a time when budgets are stretched to breaking point. Perhaps this is what the DfE had in mind when it said it would help schools make savings on procurement: scrap a free service and give schools the option of purchasing it.
POST SCRIPT: Has anyone seen the ‘set of specific actions to support school leaders target over £1 billion a year in procurement savings‘ which the DfE vowed would be published in 2016? I can only find references to the promise not its execution.
*See Specification and Evaluation Criteria - Applications for privileged early access to education performance data downloadable here.