As a school administrator or senior leader, tracking the attendance of pupils is a crucial part of ensuring their success. Since COVID there has been a focus on attendance, which for many schools has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels. This is likely to continue for several years and schools are expecting scrutiny from the DfE and OFSTED. With the help of Power BI, schools can now monitor attendance almost in real-time, allowing administrators to take immediate action when a pupil is absent or late. In this blog post, we will look at how Power BI can be used to analyse pupil attendance and how it can be used to identify areas of improvement.
Gathering Attendance Data
The first step in analysing pupil attendance with Power BI is to gather data. This can be done by capturing attendance records from the school’s existing MIS system or from a third-party app. Once the data has been gathered, it can be imported into Power BI for further analysis. Power BI shows two of its major strengths here: its ability to get data from many disparate sources and also its ability to handle large quantities of data. So Power BI can work for a large MAT with many schools using different MIS systems, and it can also handle the millions of rows that constitute the individual marks entered by staff every day.
Visualising Attendance Data
Once the data has been gathered, it can be visualised using Power BI’s various chart and graph types. This allows administrators to easily identify patterns and trends in attendance levels. For example, Power BI can be used to create bar graphs that show the number of pupils present or absent each day. This can help administrators identify key days when attendance drops, allowing them to take action to improve attendance. Another key feature of Power BI is time intelligence – in this case, the ability to aggregate attendance marks by varying periods of time: by day, by week, by month, by term and by academic year. Time intelligence allows schools to drill up and down through the attendance data, ‘zooming’ in and out from the fine detail of daily attendance percentages, via weekly, monthly and termly attendance percentages, all the way up to academic year percentages – all at the click of a mouse.
Generating Reports for Groups of Pupils
Power BI can also be used to generate reports that summarise attendance data. Reports can be generated for individual pupils or for the entire class. This allows administrators to quickly identify areas of improvement and take action to address them. And because the calculations are made so quickly, you can also monitor the percentage attendance of vulnerable groups within the school: by SEN category, EAL, pupil premium and gender.
School Analytics for Attendance
If you want to use Power BI in your school, I have developed a set of Power BI templates that connect up to your MIS data quickly and effectively. For more information see https://www.schoolanalytics.co.uk.
Power BI is a powerful tool for analysing pupil attendance. By gathering and visualising data, administrators can easily identify patterns and trends in attendance levels. Additionally, Power BI can be used to generate reports that summarise attendance data and help senior leaders identify areas of improvement. As such, Power BI is an invaluable tool for any school leader looking to improve attendance.