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Frequently asked questions

NEW Get help within every report

Switch on Aspire Assistance to see help for each part of the report. Look for the Aspire Assistance icon at the top-right area of a report.

I've forgotten my password

You can reset your password by clicking on the “Forgotten Your Password?” link that can be found on the FFT Aspire login page (

You will be asked for your email address and you will then receive an email containing a password reset link from

Once you have clicked on the link, you will be asked for certain characters from the answers to the security questions which you set up when you activated the account. Please note, these characters are NOT case sensitive and that spaces count as characters.

You will then be allowed to choose a new password.

If you’re unable to reset your password using this method, your school’s Aspire administrator will need to reset your account. This will trigger an email providing you with your username and an activation link. You will also need to obtain the activation code from your school’s administrator.

What is my username?

Your username is your account email address.

I am receiving the message ‘Something has gone wrong, try refreshing your internet browser’.

This could be an issue with the browser you are using. Older versions of Internet Explorer sometimes generate caching problems. If you are using Internet Explorer, we advise using an alternative browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

If the problem continues, please contact your IT department in the first instance as your school’s firewall settings could be restricting access to the site and the FFT Aspire IP address may need to derestricted. The IP address for FFT Aspire is:

How does FFT calculate benchmark estimates in FFT Aspire?

FFT calculates estimates from the Value-Added score of pupils in the previous year’s results datasets. Each student has a unique set of estimates which are calculated from the results and Value-Added scores of students similar to them. Similar students are identified by their:

  • Prior attainment (their previous Key Stage assessments)
  • Gender
  • Month of birth

How is the ‘Your School’ figure calculated?

The “Your school” percentile rank is based on the school’s weighted Value-Added score over the last three years for Average Points Score in the selected subject. Greater weight is given to the most recent data: the most recent year is given a weighting of 3, the previous year a weighting of 2 and the year before that a weighting of 1. For example, if a school had the same number of pupils in each cohort, the weighted VA score would be the sum of 50% of the VA score for 2018, 33% of the VA score for 2017 and 17% of the VA score for 2016.

FFT then compares the school’s weighted VA rank to all other mainstream schools nationally and calculates a percentile rank.

What is the difference between FFT 50, 20 and 5 estimates?

FFT benchmarks are based on how similar pupils nationally performed in the subject last year, (similar pupils are defined as similar prior attainment, gender and month of birth).

There are three options available:

  • Average – schools that made the average progress last year (FFT50 – 50th percentile progress)
  • High – schools that made greater than average progress (FFT20 – 20th percentile progress)
  • Very High – schools that made much greater than average progress (FFT5 – 5th percentile progress).

Increasing the level of challenge will increase the benchmark values. The “Your school” ranking is a good starting point for target setting discussions at school level.

Why won’t my pupils match through importing?

There could be a number of factors preventing matching. To put the matching process in context, the imported file is checked against the DfE's census return that is reflected in Aspire (this may not be the most recent) and any matching pupils are then added to the school’s records in Aspire. Factors such as incorrect UPN, Date of Birth and Gender can lead to a match not being found, therefore a user should ensure that these details exactly reflect the National Pupil Dataset. A pupil may also not have appeared in a census return for various reasons.

How are High, Middle and Lower (HML) bands calculated in FFT Aspire?

FFT’s HML bands for target setting differ to the Department for Education fixed thresholds in that FFT rank all pupils within a cohort based on the full range of available prior attainment data, (test and teacher assessment), and then break the ranks into exact thirds. This has the effect of defining a pupil’s performance relative to all pupils in the same year group; whereas the DfE method defines the general make up of a year group comparative to the other year groups based on fixed thresholds.

However, the HML bands for self-evaluation, FFT has adopted the Department for Education's calculations. KS1 and KS2 are shown below:

KS1 levels Level Thresholds
(Low) Red 1 <12
(Medium) Amber 2 <=12 to <17
(High) Green 3 >=18
KS2 levels Level Thresholds
(Low) Red <=3 <24
(Medium) Amber 4 <=24 to <30
(High) Green >=5 >=30

Where can I find guidance?

Switch on Aspire Assistance (from the top-right of any report) to get advice on each part of a report.

Detailed guidance can be found in the “Help centre” in the dropdown menu under the question mark (?) icon in the top-right of the FFT Aspire site. Here, you will find a range of different written documents and video guides.

If you have any additional queries regarding FFT Aspire or your data, please email our support team on or call on 01446 776 262 (option 2).

Joining the dots with insightful data.