Guardian launches pilot Schools Guide

The Guardian has launched a new interactive Schools Guide to help parents and children make better decisions when choosing a secondary school.

Guardian launches pilot Schools Guide
Annette Thomas: “The Guardian Schools Guide is a brilliant pilot initiative that opens up a wealth of data.”

The Guardian Schools Guide is a pilot online tool developed in partnership with specialist education data business SchoolDash, which puts into parents’ hands for the first time a wide range of data previously only readily available to education specialists and the government, say the publishers.

The Guide also provides a set of personalisation tools, giving parents a view of schools that goes beyond exam results and traditional league tables, and brings together a range of indicators that can help parents and children find schools that are not simply “good”, but are the best match for them, depending on their priorities and expectations.

The Schools Guide offers parents school-level data on factors including attendance, post-school destinations, admissions, balance of social representation, financial management of the school and environmental quality, as well as the traditional measures of attainment and progress. There is also a range of staff indicators such as pupil:teacher ratio and staff development.

Annette Thomas, chief executive, Guardian Media Group said: “The Guardian Schools Guide is a brilliant pilot initiative that opens up a wealth of data in a way that is easily accessible for the first time. We wanted to give a service to parents and teachers that would be useful, spark conversation and ensure we continue to be a trusted source of information in the education sector.”

Gemma Hennen, Managing Director of Guardian Jobs, said: “The Guardian has always been a destination for education professionals who come to our site for services like recruitment as well as informative journalism. This tool puts power and information in the hands of readers and job seekers alike, as well as allowing schools to show how they excel in areas that go beyond traditional league tables and ranking.”

Timo Hannay, founder, SchoolDash: “We are very proud to be working with the Guardian to provide parents with a broad set of educational indicators for the new online Schools Guide. This has the potential to reinvent the way families assess their local schools, based on previously hard-to-find data that match their own priorities in a visually accessible way - which will enable parents to personalize the factors that are important to them to gain a more holistic view of a school and its staff."

The Guardian Schools Guide is a pilot project and at this stage focuses on state secondary schools in England, with the potential to expand further. It has been built for the Guardian by SchoolDash, a specialist education data business with broad experience working across the education sector, drawing on publicly available data.

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