Guest blog from FFT – The future of target-setting

Published 30/06/2021

FFT Education has been providing schools with forward looking estimates of performance for the past 20 years. Our benchmarks are used by schools nationally to set challenging yet realistic targets, monitor school performance and identify students in need of support and intervention. 

Prior to the global pandemic, our subject-specific estimates were generated based on the performance of students in national key stage assessments. In a world without formal examinations, however, schools have been left with cohorts missing prior attainment baseline data and therefore estimates upon which to base their own target grades. This inevitably has presented a challenge for transition and beyond, in terms of understanding new students, identifying the support they may need to make progress and tracking and monitoring their learning over time.

Year 7 Transition Service 

In 2020, following the announcement that there were to be no national key stage 2 assessments, we teamed up with our long-standing partner GL Assessment to provide a new FFT predictions service to help secondary schools in England manage the transition from primary school to Year 7. This service used CAT4 data and estimates were remodelled in order to provide FFT predictions of future GCSE performance.

Over 1500 secondary schools signed up for the 2020 Transition Service and, based on its popularity, we are offering a similar service again from September 2021. 

Dynamic Estimates: The Future of Target Setting 

Many schools who participated in the Year 7 Transition Service also wanted to submit CAT4 data for other year groups to access their FFT GCSE predictions. 

So, in the 2021/22 academic year, FFT and GL Assessment are extending our partnership to launch estimates for other year groups. Schools will be able to submit their CAT4 data and other prior attainment data at any time throughout the year, for any year group. Students without prior attainment data and subsequently without estimate information will be a thing of the past! In fact, students could have multiple estimates, giving schools the element of choice and information that they can triangulate. There will no longer be a need to wait for processing windows to open and close - FFT will provide faster access to student level estimates at the click of a button.

Other FFT Services 

FFT and GL Assessment have worked in partnership since 2017. We also provide a joint GCSE Value-Added service for independent schools, international schools and state-funded schools in Northern Ireland, which analyses attainment and value-added GCSE performance using CAT4 data.  The service provides international and regional benchmarks for schools to evaluate performance.  

In addition, FFT provides results services across all key stages to give schools an early view of their attainment and value-added progress data, as well as a full national results analysis. These services support a school’s self-evaluation as well as provide estimates for students who are transitioning from one key stage to another. FFT’s 2021 benchmark estimates will be available in Aspire for students in Years 1, 3, 7 and 12 prior to starting the new academic year. 

To find out more about our 2021/22 services, visit: