Power BI for Schools

Why Power BI?

Power BI is a Microsoft product that has roots in Excel. Back in 2015 Microsoft realised that Excel isn’t particularly good for data analysis – yes, it’s very good at number crunching, but not at visualising the data in a way that allows users to gather insights. That’s where Power BI comes in. In this article I try to show how Power BI can be used in your school.

What is Business Intelligence and how can it help my school?

Businesses and schools create huge amounts of data from many different systems. For example, attendance data, census data and demographics in its MIS system, you may also have other systems for assessment, behaviour, safeguarding and finance. You will probably also be capturing data from other less formal sources: spreadsheets, questionnaires, the DfE website, and so on. Business Intelligence brings all these sources together and allows you to create wholistic analysis of the data within them.

Power BI and your school

Excel users will understand how good spreadsheets are for creating tables of data. MIS systems like SIMS, Bromcom and Arbor are good for allowing data entry across a huge range of school activities. So although both Excel and your school MIS can provide data analysis but they are limited, as neither products are flexible enough to allow your school to become fully confident with data analysis. Power BI provides a set of tools that allow you to create your own data analysis, without the limits of your MIS or Excel spreadsheet systems.

Unsure where to start?

Online Power BI Training

I offer a range of pre-recorded Power BI courses specially for schools at https://courses.schoolanalytics.co.uk. The courses are aimed at SIMS and data managers in secondary schools and in MATs. 

In Person and Remote Training

I can deliver training over MS Teams or face-to-face. This training can be tailored individually to your school’s needs and can involve one or several staff.

Power BI Templates

My School Analytics templates are perhaps the easiest way to get Power BI up and running very quickly. The templates can be installed off the shelf, or customised to suit your requirements. Staff training can be organised after installation to ensure that your school develops in-house Power BI Skills.


New Power BI Analyses ‘From Scratch’

Luckily, Power BI is so flexible that it is possible to design your analyses entirely to your own specification. Here’s some examples of the kind of analyses that Power BI makes possible – remember the actual look and feel of each report can be extensively tailored.

Hybrid Approaches

I’m happy to develop and install Power BI analyses alongside your staff, taking them through the whole process and using the opportunity to train staff as we go along. This approach usually works best if staff have a basic understanding of Power BI.

Email me: david@schoolanalytics.co.uk