Support Planner:  Old Data


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One school has raised the following issue after rolling over to 2008.

"..When you look at Observations all - it gives you all observations for the past two years and will now include 2008. I thought all past information would be wiped when we did the roll over and we would only have this year's
information. Can you explain it to me please?"

This is a valid question and clearly has several possible answers.

Who makes the decision to delete data?

1. The school is the custodian of the data (see Disclaimer). Hence it is not for me to remove any data, although I have begun removing students who has clearly left (e.g., Year 7, 8 and 9 students who are not in this year's SACS data from Primary Schools).

The value of old data

2. Much of the previous years' data is valuable and should be kept as an indication of progress or otherwise:

  • it is possible to identify how patterns of observations and concerns are changing (or not changing)
  • it is possible to track what support has (or has not) been helpful in the past

Some examples:

  • In one school the GO recommended that a student do a particular program. But when the student's record in the Planner was checked it was discovered that he had already done the program twice
  • In another school, it was thought that a student's problematic behaviour was associated with his contact with his father. Analysis by the GO showed that this was not the case.

An accurate history can be important

3. It is common for families to claim that 'we never had this sort of problem before'. Keeping the data from previous years is useful for bringing
clarity to the issues being addressed.

Maintaining connections

4. In schools that hyperlink to important documents, removing the previous years' data would also remove the links to these documents.

'Filtering out' the old

5. The Observations 30 day (tab) view provides a snapshot of the student's current situation and is strongly recommended as the main view for working with the students, teachers and families regarding what happening now!! In a sense, this view 'demotes' older data, but the older data is still available, if and when needed.

Keeping past commitments and understandings

6. Bringing forward all data is the simplest way to ensure that plans and commitments made in previous years are not lost nor overlooked.

7. Many schools use performance/needs ratings and these can be very valuable for

  • monitoring progress (or otherwise)
  • informing the conversations between current, previous and future teachers.


8.. and so on....

9. And, perhaps most importantly, all those who work with the student share responsibility with those who came before and will come after. Enriching their conversations is an important thing to do.

Moving from the negative to the objective

So there is a lot to think about. And only the school can make the decision that is right for the student in the school.


When schools start using the Planner they tend to focus on 'behavioural incidents'. As a result they tend to see the Planner contents as
negative. As users mature, they tend to see the data simply as data: some encouraging and some of concern. This rich data is simply available to support ongoing functional analysis that will inform future support.

And, of course, the Planner is about more than just providing positive support for (negative) behaviour.



Ivan Webb Pty Ltd 2001 onwards