How to collect and analyse data, and what your collected data can tell you about your school’s performance.


Understanding your data: a guide for school governors and academy trustees


Exceptions report template with guidance notes

ODT, 36.7KB

This file is in an OpenDocument format

Exceptions report – anonymous example A

ODT, 40.5KB

This file is in an OpenDocument format

Exceptions report – anonymous example B

ODT, 41.7KB

This file is in an OpenDocument format


Who is this publication for?

This information is for:

  • academy trustees
  • maintained school governors
  • executive leaders
  • local authorities
  • local governing boards and clerks

Use the exceptions report template as a basis to have structured discussions with your board. This will help the board to understand the issues and challenge leaders to understand and contribute towards improvements.

The exceptions reports show anonymised examples which can be used as a guide.

Expiry or review date

This guidance will be reviewed before June 2020.

Contact ESFA

If you have any feedback on this guidance and the templates, please contact us using our online enquiry form:

ESFA enquiries

Contact form…

For all enquiries for the Education and Skills Funding Agency

Published 26 June 2018
Last updated 21 August 2019 + show all updates

  1. We have updated the understanding your data guide and exception reports.
  2. Included CTA for completion of the Understanding your data feedback survey.
  3. We have updated the guide with links to new and updated tools that help schools reduce costs pressures and make every pound count.
  4. First published.