Tracking tool frequently asked questions | Oxfordshire County Council

Tracking tool frequently asked questions

A list of common questions about using the Early Years Tracking Tool.

Click on the questions below to reveal the answer to common questions about the tracking tool.

What are the Ethnicity Descriptions on the drop down tab?

The codes are based on the Department of Education funding forms.  However the explanations can be found on the ‘Key’ tab on the tracking tool.

What date do we put on as an Assessment Date or Term Date?

This is entirely up to you as to what date you put in.  The idea is that is around the date you made your assessment of the child, the calculations will then work out whether they are inline/below etc based on their age at that date. 

How do we save the tool?

When you initially open it from the download process, we recommend that you save a copy at that point so that you have an original version.  You can then resave a new version that you can enter the data onto.

Can we amend the headings on the columns?

Yes you can amend the headings.  If you don’t feel that you will use all of the columns on the data entry page and want to record something else that is useful within your setting you can amend the heading to reflect this.  Any columns that you amend must be a free text entry within the cells.

Who does the overall progress chart track?

This illustrates the percentage of children Above/Inline/Below/+1Below within each of the terms.  It does show all of the children in that setting.

How can we see different groups on the Summary Graphs?

This can be done by filtering the relevant column on the Data Entry tab – eg filter the column Pupil Premium to Y to show all children within that group.  Then click on the Summary Graph Tab. 

What are the SEN codes on the drop down list?

They are

  • K – Known SEN  - in receipt of support for SEN, however a plan has not yet been set up or is not appropriate
  • EHCP – Educational Health Care Plan – a specific plan has been set up for the child

If you want further explanation of the codes then please speak to your Advisory Teacher

Can you record different ‘rooms’ or ‘cohorts’ on the spreadsheet?

Yes – there are two different ways you could do this.  You can either enter them on the Data Entry page, then in the ‘Key Person Group’ put the room detail in there and then filter on just those children.  The other way is save the tool and name it dependant on the room/cohort you wish to use it for.

I have children joining at different times through the year, where should their first assessment be put?

Regardless of when the children join, they should all have their first assessment data entered into the Entry Section.  They may well then miss out Ass 1 or Ass 2.

Can this tool be used for schools?

The tool has been built based on the Early Years Settings, however it can be adapted, at a cost, for schools to then be able to include the Early Learning Goals.

In the Gender box can I just put M or F or do I have to use the drop down boxes?

You will need to use the drop down options rather than type it in.  This is the same for all of the drop down boxes.

I don’t appear to have any drop down boxes in the individual cells?

If you have a 2007 version of Excel the drop down boxes don’t work.  You need to have a tool that has been adapted specifically for 2007. Please email earlyyearstrackingtool@gmail.com to request this. It is important that you use the drop down boxes as if the information is entered in incorrectly in those boxes some of the formulas won’t work correctly.

Can I expand or hide columns?

You can expand or shrink the columns to suit.  If you click on the top of the toolbar at the ‘letters’ the cursor changes to two arrows you can then drag the column larger or smaller.  You can’t fully hide a column due to the protections applied to the tool however you can contact earlyyearstrackingtool@gmail.com if you want to get rid of a column completely.

Can we use this data to send onto the schools or other settings?

As it is an excel based tool it is very easy to copy the data and transfer it across to others.  If each setting is willing to share the data, it can either be printed off or emailed across and the copy and paste into their tool.  It can also be imported into the school’s systems, although you may need assistance with this. If so please contact earlyyearstrackingtool@gmail.com.

How many assessment points are there on the tool and how would it work for children who stay for more than a year?

There are 4 different assessment points on the tool.  You can set a tool up for each individual year and then copy the last assessment information and paste it into the new year so that you can then see how they finished on the previous year.

Can we have more terms/assessments within the tool?

The tool has initially been set up for 3 terms/assessments however if a setting requires it, the tool can be adapted at a cost to suit their individual requirements.  If you require this please contact earlyyearstrackingtool@gmail.com.

On the age bandings can we have emerging/developing/competent instead of a/b/c?

The reason for having the a/b/c is to provide consistency through from the early years settings through to the schools who record on a/b/c.

Do I have to complete all the strands or just the overall?

It is up to each setting what they complete in the seven areas, you can either do the overall strand or the individual ones.  Or you can just do the area that you are focusing on.

What happens if a child leaves during the year?

On the ‘On Roll’ column change the cell from Y to N and then filter to just show the children that are Y.  This will then only show your current children. 

My practitioners all assess slightly different, how will the progress tab help me?

The progress tab can be a good way to talk through with the individual practitioners how they are making their assessments and it will be able to illustrate if there are big difference between them.

If I get a child from another setting can I copy the data across?

If they are using the Tool then it is easy to be able to transfer the data across to your tool.  If they don’t have the tool if they are willing to provide you with the data they have recorded then you can input that into your tool.

Can we leave some rows blank?

Yes you can.  If you wanted to leave some space between some of the entries for children you can do this, it won’t affect the calculations.

Can I input the bandings into the seven areas of learning or do I have to use the drop down boxes?

Due to the formulas within the tool you need to use the drop down boxes to ensure the correct format of the bandings are being used.  If you are able to type in the box then it is probably because you are using Excel 2007 and you need to contact earlyyearstrackingtool@gmail.com so that they can send you through a specially adapted tool to enable the drop down boxes to work.

Can I make any amendments to the tool?

The tool has been protected to ensure the formulas work correctly.  If you would like to have an bespoke changes made to the tool to suit your setting this can be made at a charge.  Contact the earlyyearstrackingtool@gmail.com email to make the relevant enquiries.

I have a minus figure in the age box within the term area and working inline columns shows #N/A?

This is because the tool needs a date in the Term box to be able to calculate the age of the child at the time of the assessment/term.  In the top left hand corner of the tool there are three term date boxes – you need to input a date in the box next to this (ie column B).  Once a date is in here it will then calculate what age the child is at that point and then whether they are inline/below etc.

I have a #VALUE come up in the age box within the term and in the 2 yr check box, what does this mean?

This is usually down to the format that the age of birth has been put in as the formulas within the tool can’t recognise it.  Please ensure that you always enter the date as a DD/MM/YYYY format rather than DD.MM.YYYY.

My computer shows the dates in an American format, why is this?

If you have recently updated your computer to Windows 10, unfortunately it automatically changes the date format to the American setup, eg: Jun/24/2016.  If you go into your computer settings and date format you can change this back to the English setup and it will automatically then correct the dates on your tool. 

I have Excel 2007 and I have the 2007 version of the tool, however the tool doesn’t appear to open?

This could be because you have not download the Microsoft System Update 3 which is the one which uploads the compatibility tool allowing your system to use Excels that have been created in the new versions.  Once you have updated this and done a shut down and restart this should resolve the issue.

How does the tool measure Progress of the children?

The tool measures progress by counting the steps made since Entry.  Eg.  A pupil who achieved a 30-50c in Entry and then a 30-50b in ass 1 would have made 1 step of progress.  To display different groups on the Progress Graph you need to filter the children on the progress tab. 

The Individual Graph is showing all the children, how do I show just one child?

If you go to the corresponding coloured tab and then select the relevant child from the list.  Return to the original Individual Graph and it will now display the correct child. 

Guidance and support

For help using and making the most of the tool read the guidance notes (pdf format, 1.7Mb).

If you have a query which is not answered email earlyyearstrackingtool@gmail.com.

Last reviewed
12 July 2017
PrintPrint Give us feedback on this pageFeedback form, opens in new window.
Access key details Skip to main content Home News Sitemap Search Website help Complaints Terms and conditions Website feedback