Data management has moved in evolutionary ways in the education system in England. Although some might say that the current evolution has moved from a situation where there was no choice (20 and more years ago), to one where there was some choice (up to 20 years ago), to a position where there is now overload, this paper will argue that that is not the case when the position is viewed from certain perspectives. The paper will contend that data itself has changed little over a period of 20 years, but that data analyses, forms of data presentation, and access to data handling facilities have all changed a great deal. The paper argues that this has led to ‘data complexity’ rather than ‘data overload'. Indeed, as the paper will show, when concerns about current national policies are considered, it is inevitable that the evolution will continue. It is argued that in this period of future evolution, ’smarter’ systems will be needed if increasing numbers of facilities are to be used effectively and efficiently.