This article is reprinted and updated from

Here’s the first page of my School Analytics pupil dashboard. It’s built using SIMS and Power BI – where SIMS provides the raw data and Power BI provides the analysis and visualisation – and it is intended to show the data required by a primary school to demonstrate the key (most important) qualities of their pupils. Each tile needs to show some important facet of your school’s population.

A good first page needs to convey the most salient points of information for your school. So here the first tile shows the number of pupils currently on roll, followed by a pie chart that shows the gender split. Bar charts for SEN pupils, pupil premium and english as additional language (EAL) pupils follow.  What you can’t tell from this photo is that all these graphs are interactive – click on the 87 pupil premium pupils represented on the PP graph and immediately all the other graphs adjust to show the relative number of pupil premium pupils within the (say) the EAL group, or within each year group.

Click on the 220 pupils classed as White-English pupil and instantly all the other graphs show the percentages of those pupils within their respective focus areas. I’ve added some traffic lights (also known as conditional formatting) to indicate good, average and poor attendance (the overall attendance rate is red if the percentage drops below 95%, yellow between 95 and 96% and green above 96%). In this (imaginary) school, I also decided to highlight year groups that are oversubscribed, so you’ll see that year 5 is red as it has more than 60 pupils.

A map shows the distribution of pupils throughout the local area. The size of the dots indicates how many pupils live at that postcode. Pupils who are persistent absentees will be highlighted in red to help the pastoral staff target problem families. The screenshot uses sample data – in your school the dots will be much closer together! The school is clearly diverse, so I’ve added a count of first and home language to emphasise that diversity.

So that’s the design priciples underlying the first page of the School Analytics Power BI report.