School Accountability - Children, Schools and Families Committee Contents


227.  Having considered the major elements of the accountability system, a number of inter-related messages have emerged. First, complexity: the school accountability and improvement system has become extremely complex, with layer upon layer of new initiatives being imposed on schools. Second, consistency: linked to the complexity issue is the impression that some major elements of the accountability system are giving conflicting messages. This leads schools, parents and others to worry about the consistency of the various mechanisms which are supposed to hold schools to account and support them towards better performance. Third, coercion: the Government and Ofsted are giving mixed messages about whether schools themselves are driving school improvement or whether they must simply submit to improvement programmes imposed on them by others. We examine these issues in further detail below.


228.  The New Relationship with Schools was intended to simplify and make more coherent the school accountability and improvement process.[359] The Government acknowledged that schools complained of a 'bidding culture', in which there were too many programmes and initiatives which distracted them from the task of school improvement. The 'single conversation' with schools was, therefore, meant to remove from schools the need to take account of multiple initiatives from a variety of different sources and have a single conversation with a School Improvement Partner (SIP) about development priorities, targets and support needs.[360]

229.  However, witnesses have complained that the vision of the 'single conversation' is not a reality for schools. The Association of Schools and College Leaders stated that "the single conversation has suffered from the top-down target setting culture of the DCSF and its agency the National Strategies".[361] Local authorities, School Improvement Partners and headteachers have said that one of the biggest problems facing schools is the number and frequency of new initiatives emanating from central government. They have also expressed concerns about a lack of understanding by the Government of how new programmes would work in practice and the possibility of adverse, unintended consequences.[362] VT Education and Skills[363] pointed to a need for simplification, agreeing with others that there were too many initiatives and adding that information for parents was either too widely spread or not presented in a comprehensible format.[364]

230.  Councillor Les Lawrence, representing the Local Government Authority (LGA), gave as a reason for the frequency of policy initiatives the Government's "unfortunate misunderstanding" of the length of time between a policy being set by Government, implemented in a school or across a local authority and the manifestation of an outcome from that policy. He thought that Government had a tendency to rush and, in doing so, did not allow sufficient time for policies to run their course from inception, through implementation to outcomes. He thought that, over the last 20 or 30 years, governments had tended to pursue goals which were not always compatible with the requirements of sound policy delivery.[365] Councillor Lawrence emphasised the need for a period of stability so that schools and local authorities could focus on improvement, free from the pressure of constant change:

… we have had this constant change, dare I say it, ever since the Baker curriculum reforms. … A period of stability would be very helpful to enable us to bring about the type of improvements that we are beginning to achieve now, simply because we have the data to hand and the powers to intervene.[366]

231.  Anastasia de Waal, Director of Family and Education at Civitas, a thinktank, found the frequent succession of new ideas frustrating. The net result was that educationalists were never in a position to consolidate and use the knowledge gained from experience because a policy was dropped or changed before its true effects could be discerned. New policies simply brought new problems, not solutions to the problems which already existed.[367] Professor Peter Tymms has also stated that, with so many national initiatives being rolled out simultaneously, it is impossible to establish which ones are leading to better accountability and school improvement and which ones are not.[368] Professor Tymms said that he would like to see the Government testing policies systematically in order to generate solid evidence about the effectiveness of policies. He argued that the Government should formulate policy with the explicit aim that it would be updated in the light of the evidence which emerges.[369]

232.  Jon Coles, Director General of the Schools Directorate at DCSF, told us that, through the policy-making process, the Government was trying to understand the factors that affect children's educational success and to identify policies that would be effective in bringing about that success. He said that the White Paper proposals were an attempt "to reduce the pressure of centrally driven reform programmes" and to move towards a system more tailored to the needs of individual schools.[370] He did not, however, explain why the pace of change in Government policy needed to be so relentless and so centrally directed.

233.  As the strategic commissioning authority for schools in the maintained sector, local authorities are at the heart of the school accountability and improvement system and are, therefore, acutely aware of the complexities of that system. An excellent example of this complexity is provided by the arrangements for supporting school improvement at the 16-19 phase of education. For all education providers, the LGA states that the "key agency for driving improvement is the institution or provider itself, supported as appropriate by other providers working in local delivery consortia".[371] Support and challenge is provided by the sponsoring agency and, where this is ineffective, the sponsoring agency has duties to secure improvement. The sponsoring agency for schools and sixth form colleges is the local authority; but for academies it will soon be the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA); and, for general further education colleges, the Skills Funding Agency, with the local authority and YPLA identifying underperformance and commissioning the Learning and Skills Improvement Service as necessary. This is clearly a very complex network of agencies operating at the 16-19 level of education.[372] Councillor Les Lawrence said that the LGA had some concerns about this "plethora of bodies" and worried that it was a "mechanism for exercising greater centralised control than is necessary to exercise the new powers for the commissioning of 16-19 provision".[373]

234.  Furthermore, there are a variety of existing and proposed measures for performance management, including the school report card pilot study to record schools' performance in relation to children up to age 16, Achievement and Attainment Tables, the Data Dashboard for school sixth forms, Framework for Excellence for the further education sector, the new Ofsted inspection framework, Comprehensive Area Assessments, and self-regulation. The LGA stated that "unless these are brought together into a single integrated system there is likely to be both public and professional confusion and inefficient use of resources".[374]

235.  Once local authorities have strategic commissioning responsibility for all education and training for children and young people up to the age of 18, there may be a stronger argument for placing greater emphasis on performance across 14-19 provision within a more coherent and integrated framework. The LGA, in its response to the Department's consultation on 21st Century Schools and A School Report Card, questioned why the focus was exclusively on schools and not on other types of provider who are engaged in the education and training of young people up to the age of 19. The LGA noted that the Education and Skills Act 2008 and the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill (which has since passed into law) both require collaboration between local authorities and providers of all types of education and training up to 19 and considered that a harmonised accountability framework would promote such collaboration.

236.  Instead, there remains some confusion about the status of partnership working and how account should be taken of the work schools do with other partners. The Government has strongly emphasised schools working in partnership with others, both in the White Paper and in the proposals for the school report card.[375] Ofsted also makes a judgement on partnership working under the new inspection framework and states that it is working with the Department "To refine ways of evaluating partnerships more securely within the accountability framework. … Common principles are being developed which will enable inspectors to evaluate the impact of collaborative working in schools, early years' settings and colleges".[376] The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), however, argued that "The accountability system is predicated on, and encourages, competition between schools at a destructive level, since it is wholly predicated on the performance of the individual school".[377] The Association of Teachers and Lecturers saw more benefit in a community-based approach to accountability, with increased focus on partnerships and collaborations between schools, other education providers (early years and 14-19) and other children's services.[378]

237.  Another manifestation of the complexities raised by the evaluation of partnership working has been in connection with the Diploma. The Diploma has the potential to transform the way schools operate at the 14-19 level. Not only is it meant to combine the academic with the vocational, but schools are generally required to collaborate with each other and with other education providers in order to provide Diplomas. This means that the achievements of pupils in a school at Diploma level may be due, not only to the efforts of that school, but also to the efforts of other education providers involved.

238.  Edexcel, one of the Awarding Bodies providing the Diploma, states that open competition between schools has been encouraged over many years, impeding trust and collaboration at local level. It considers that "Collaboration in provision is yet to be translated into collaboration over outcomes, not least because colleges are central to such partnerships for learners aged 16 and under, but are not included in the current proposals." Edexcel does not consider that the Department has yet produced a workable model for accountability demonstrating collaboration between various providers.[379]

239.  The complexity of the school accountability and improvement system in England is creating a barrier to genuine school improvement based on the needs of individual schools and their pupils. We support the message in the 21st Century Schools White Paper, that schools should be empowered to take charge of their own improvement processes. However, the Government's continuing tendency to impose serial policy initiatives on schools belies this message and the relentless pace of reform has taken its toll on schools and their capacity to deliver a balanced education to their pupils. We urge the Government to refrain from introducing frequent reforms and allow schools a period of consolidation.


240.  The Government stands by the current accountability system as a coherent and effective approach to holding schools to account and driving improvement. The Department stated that "the current school accountability system plays an effective role in raising standards, enabling schools to drive their own improvement, identifying excellent performance and underperformance, keeping parents informed and ensuring resources are directed to where they are most needed."[380] However, the NUT believed that the current accountability system was muddled and that, contrary to the Government's claim, there was no evidence that tests, targets and performance tables had improved standards over the past decade.[381] Moreover, teacher initiative and creativity was undermined by uncertainties created by multiple and often conflicting lines of accountability.[382] The NUT stated that:

"The Government in England has failed consistently to adopt a coherent approach to school accountability. Current systems for evaluation, from individual pupils to the education service at national level, are extraordinarily muddled. There is no clear rationale of why various systems of summative evaluation and accountability exist. Consequently, schools experience over-lapping forms of high stakes evaluation systems … which are often in contradiction with each other. These over-lapping systems of accountability are made worse by Government national targets for test results and examination results and by the publication on an annual basis of school performance tables."[383]

241.  The ASCL made a similar point, claiming that the present system had evolved haphazardly over generations, placed progressively less trust in schools and teachers, and was no longer fit for purpose.[384] The ASCL stated that reducing levels of trust in schools and teachers has led to an expanding accountability system which has become over-burdensome because schools are held accountable in too many ways to too many different individuals and bodies. These include children and parents as individuals, those groups collectively, the governing body, the local authority, members and officers of the local authority, school improvement partners (SIPs), advisers appointed by National Strategies or the National Challenge, Ofsted, the Children's Commissioner, Children's Trusts, the Learning and Skills Council, the press, and partnerships set up to address behaviour, diplomas or other locally agreed issues. The ASCL stated that these accountabilities often conflict, looking for different priorities and demanding incompatible behaviours. For example, different plans and different targets have to be agreed with different bodies.[385] The ASCL would like to see a new system designed with a limited number of elements which are not burdensome and which accurately reflect the performance of schools.[386]

242.  Edexcel described the current accountability system as "fragmented" and, like the ASCL, referred to the multiple bodies to which schools were accountable. According to Edexcel, inconsistency was a feature of the system at a number of levels. It argued that Ofsted reports used CVA data inconsistently so that account was not necessarily taken of school context. It added that light-touch inspection for high-performing schools could reinforce funding advantage and encourage 'coasting'; yet close scrutiny of low-achieving schools could reinforce funding disadvantage, undermine professional confidence and lead to problems with recruitment and retention of skilled and experienced teachers. Furthermore, Edexcel argued that league tables based on raw test and examination scores also failed to account for a school's context, particularly in terms of a challenging intake. It said that such measures tended to increase the demand for places at schools perceived as 'high-performing' and reduce demand for places at 'low-performing' schools, with damaging consequences for the local community.[387] According to this view, there is an inconsistent approach to accountability and outcomes for schools, depending on a judgement of their performance based on raw test and examination scores.

243.  An often-quoted example of inconsistency in the school accountability system stems from the National Challenge, administered through the Government's National Strategies agency. The Government set a target for secondary schools of 30% of pupils achieving 5 A*-C grades at GCSE, including English and maths. The target for primary schools is 65% of pupils achieving level 4 or above in Key Stage 2 English and maths.[388] The Government launched the National Challenge in June 2008 to provide increased resources and assistance to schools failing to meet the threshold targets. Various interventions are possible, including school closure; replacing the school with an academy; teaming the school with a high-performing school as part of a federation; encouraging the school to acquire a trust in order to secure external involvement in its governance; or replacing the governing body with an interim executive board.

244.  Although the additional resources for school improvement associated with National Challenge were welcomed, there was concern about a number of aspects of the programme. The emphasis on examination results did not take account of the wider activities and context of the school, including the characteristics of the intake. National Challenge schools expressed anxiety that they would be perceived as failing, leading to a spiral of decline as some parents moved their children to other schools. It was argued that the list of National Challenge schools was misleading as some had received favourable Ofsted judgements and, indeed, some were mentoring other schools to help them improve. Witnesses including Edexcel and the Independent Schools Inspectorate noted the apparent conflict between some National Challenge outcomes and Ofsted judgements and Edexcel considered that this raised questions as to whether there existed, in fact, a coherent accountability 'system'.[389] National Challenge also seemed incongruous next to CVA scoring as some National Challenge schools actually scored very highly in CVA terms.[390]

245.  We put the problem of inconsistency between Ofsted judgements and schools judged as failing under the National Challenge programme to HM Chief Inspector. She responded that the Government was considering only raw examination results under National Challenge, whereas inspection judgements were based on a much wider range of performance measures. The Chief Inspector said that, when she reviewed the reports of schools judged outstanding or good by Ofsted which had failed to meet the National Challenge threshold target, she found that inspectors had felt sure that those schools were improving and their capacity to improve was apparent.[391]

246.  In other areas, the Department appeared to agree that a range of performance measures was preferable to an undue focus on raw scores and this principle underpinned proposals for the new school report card. Nevertheless, as we have already noted, even the school report card will continue to place great reliance on test and examination results. Moreover, the potential for the overall score on the school report card to appear to conflict with Ofsted's judgement of the school's performance has been admitted by both the Government and Ofsted. A further problem will arise if Ofsted decides that the school report card is not suitable as a replacement for the interim assessment for schools who are judged 'good' or 'outstanding' under the new inspection framework. Not only will this be an additional burden on schools, but it would also introduce another area in which the potential for inconsistency, this time between the interim assessment and the school report card, is clear.

247.  There is a broader debate on accountability which considers whether accountability should be to the centre or to local communities. This is connected with the evidence from the NFER study on local authority use of statutory powers which highlighted differences in approach to accountability and improvement between central and local government, with the former putting increasing emphasis on the use of statutory powers to change radically the structure of a school judged to be failing, and the latter often relying on non-statutory, collaborative means of supporting schools and promoting improvement. The LGA confirmed that the collaborative approach to school improvement was a deliberate strategy on the part of local authorities.[392]

248.  The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) considered that "the current system gives undue weight to central government, particularly through national test data and Ofsted inspection", leading to the undesirable consequences of narrowing the curriculum and stifling innovation and creativity. The ATL and the GTCE argued in favour of a rebalancing of accountability in favour of parents, governing bodies and the local community.[393] The proposals for a school report card and continuation of individual accountability, the ATL said, would perpetuate an insular approach by schools as each does what it can to climb the league tables. The ATL saw more benefit in a community-based approach to accountability, with increased focus on partnerships and collaborations between schools, other education providers (early years and 14-19) and other children's services. This evidence underscores a generalised view of an inconsistent approach between levels of government, with central government perceived as coercive and local government as collaborative (as we explore in greater detail in the next section).

249.  Inconsistencies in the approach to school accountability and improvement and inconsistencies in the judgments which are made in different parts of the accountability system are both confusing and damaging. Confusion undermines the credibility of the accountability system and schools which find themselves pulled in different directions are unlikely to be able to give their full attention to the fundamental task of providing their pupils with a broad and balanced education.


250.  The language of self-evaluation and schools taking charge of their own improvement processes permeates the Ofsted inspection framework and many recent publications by the Government, including the White Paper. Yet the reality is that schools in need of improvement are still subject to programmes devised and applied by central government through its agencies.

251.  Once again, National Challenge is a good example of how schools, who may be performing at a high level according to Ofsted, find themselves constrained by the structure of a national programme imposed by the Government. The ASCL and others pointed to the use of statistical indicators and targets throughout the system as a major reason for schools bending to perverse incentives rather than necessarily doing what was best for their pupils.[394] It argued that "There may be a place for such approaches, but there is at present little room for anything else." The ASCL gave the example of the National Challenge target of 30% of pupils gaining five or more GCSEs, including English and maths, at grades A*-C. This led to schools focusing their attention on pupils who were close to the threshold, to the detriment of those performing either well above or well below the threshold. [395] This is not necessarily how a school would choose to operate in the absence of a programme such as National Challenge.

252.  Recent research by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) detected tension between local and central government when the National Challenge programme was introduced. Local authorities did not necessarily oppose the programme as such—indeed, many welcomed the additional resources being made available for school improvement—but many were dismayed at what they saw as a political gesture with harmful consequences for schools. The overwhelming perception of those taking part in the NFER research was that the "naming and shaming" approach to school improvement, based on raw test scores, was unfair, demoralising for staff and potentially damaging to the school and its pupils. The approach taken by central government appeared unilateral in nature and was not approved of at local level.

253.  We have also noted above our concern about the Government's proposal to enable the Secretary of State to direct local authorities to use their statutory powers in relation to schools which are struggling.[396] This would give the Secretary of State power to intervene in schools causing concern and to circumvent some of the good practice developed by local authorities which are successfully using non-statutory strategies to support school improvement. It is also further evidence of the Government's centralising tendencies when it comes to school improvement and it runs directly contrary to the message in the White Paper that schools are responsible for their own improvement.[397]

254.  Throughout this series of inquiries, we have encountered concern about the effect of targets and thresholds on schools and their pupils. In schools which are struggling to meet targets based on tests in the core subjects, many will feel powerless to put appropriate time and resources into meeting the genuine needs of pupils whose greatest potential lies elsewhere than in academic attainment. The LGA provides a further example of how targets and thresholds can have a distorting effect on school practice. In its response to Ofsted's consultation about the proposal to impose minimum standards for pupils' attainment, the LGA expressed concern that such requirements could have serious implications for schools and their pupils. It stated that:

Defining minimum standards for learners' outcomes may be attractive, but also raises highly complex questions of realism, reasonableness and equity. … There are quite profound philosophical problems about the extent to which people, who are all different, can all reasonably be expected at all times and in all circumstances to achieve a particular standard. Equally, clearly everyone wishes to be ambitious in seeing each child achieve his or her educational potential, but these are not by any means necessarily the same thing. We must be careful that in any setting of minimum standards, of whatever variety, we do not create perverse incentives which adversely impact on institutions or on individual children and young people.

255.  Ofsted categorisation of schools as 'causing concern' has also been described as damaging to schools. The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) argued that the current mechanisms for identifying 'under-performing' schools, based on targets and thresholds of attainment in tests and examinations, were inadequate in recognising the broader achievements of a school. The process of categorisation used by Ofsted did nothing to support school improvement and may hinder progress by reducing the reputation of a school. The NAHT wished to see the additional support which is offered to schools as a result of being placed in a category of concern by Ofsted being made available without the stigma which attaches to that categorisation.[398]

256.  School self-evaluation was meant to epitomise the New Relationship with Schools concept of schools taking responsibility for their own improvement.[399] Yet the ASCL told us that self-evaluation has been undermined by the current accountability system:

… the self evaluation form has been imposed on schools and has been increasing[ly] subverted to provide extra accountability. Self-improvement has been obstructed by a fixation on categorising schools as failing in various ways, leading to a culture of fear which stifles creativity and leads instead to mere compliance. …

Too little account is taken of progress, improvement or performance over time; so that teachers and their leaders can find that they are only as good as their most recent results. This has led to an increasing number of school leaders being dismissed, often in ways more redolent of the football club than the classroom, contributing to the sense of threat and compliance culture mentioned … above.[400]

The NUT was also concerned about what it saw as a distortion of the self-evaluation process by Ofsted. It thought that, whilst appearing to adopt self-evaluation, Ofsted was actually using it in a negative and punitive way. The NUT argued that the approach embodied in Ofsted's Self-Evaluation Form (SEF) was far removed from the model propounded by Professor John MacBeath which had met with the enthusiasm of many teachers and local authorities. The NUT compared the SEF approach unfavourably with 'true' self-evaluation by which a school "takes time to think through its own priorities and values and … tests the fulfilment of these in practice" becoming, as a consequence, a better school.

257.  Consistent with a coercive view of the accountability system, many witnesses have stated that performance reporting and inspection in England are used as punitive mechanisms.[401] The stigmatisation of individual schools, leading to a spiral of decline as morale is compromised, recruitment and retention of good teachers becomes increasingly problematic and parents move children to other schools, could be avoided with a less punitive approach based on support and challenge.[402] School Improvement Partners told us that the top-down pressures on headteachers by means of cumulating initiatives, including threshold targets, were discouraging teachers from applying for headships. Existing headteachers felt unable to do their job as they wished because they were increasingly occupied with the "volume of initiatives that fall on their desk". Some headteachers felt distanced from the business of teaching and learning because of the breadth of their management responsibilities, particularly in relation to the extended schools agenda.[403] Anna Fazackerley, representing The Policy Exchange, thought that the Government should move towards a model more like that in Ontario or Alberta in Canada, where the punitive approach was avoided and more emphasis was placed on supporting school improvement and maintaining a dialogue with schools about the best means of achieving that end.[404]

258.  Dr John Dunford, General Secretary of the ASCL, summed up the way schools and their leaders feel about the accountability and improvement mechanisms to which they are subject. He accepted that schools should be accountable and that accountability should feed into the processes of school improvement. However, an effective school accountability system was one where schools owned the processes of accountability and improvement. Schools had difficulty with the current system because they did not have ownership of it and it was being "done to them". This chimes with a concern expressed by Professor John MacBeath, who stated that, at a European level, the UK was peculiar because of the lack of reciprocity between schools, the Government and local authorities. The pressures on schools were very much top down, but there was no mechanism by which schools could evaluate the work done by, for example, Ofsted or the Government. He thought that the "pressure-down, accountability-up" structure of the school accountability and improvement system was wrong and needed to be addressed.[405]

259.  The NUT urged the Government to review current accountability measures—inspection, national targets and school performance tables—with the aim of achieving public accountability of schools without the "warping and distorting effects" of the current system.[406] It states that performance tables and targets should be abolished and that the need for an account of the performance of the education system at national level should be met by sample testing.[407] The ATL agreed and added that reporting of school-level data, encouraging "crude parent choice" and triggering major interventions such as National Challenge, were the major reasons for narrowing of the curriculum taught in schools. Only those schools already doing well felt secure enough to innovate and teach creatively.[408]

260.  We recommend that the Government revisits the proposals for reform of the school accountability and improvement system set out in the 21st Century Schools White Paper with a view to giving more substance to its claims that schools are responsible for their own improvement. We have received strong evidence that schools feel coerced and constrained by the outcomes of Ofsted inspection and programmes set up by central government, such as National Challenge. We have consistently noted the adverse effects that targets have had on the education of children and young people. The Government should seek means of delivering support and challenge to schools without what many witnesses perceived as a harmful 'naming and shaming' approach endemic in the current system.


261.  The Government told us that:

The principles of school self-evaluation, light-touch Ofsted inspection and the School Improvement Partner, established through the New Relationship with Schools, have been widely welcomed and have supported schools in taking ownership of their own improvement. The accountability system is flexible in allowing central Government to shift priorities and respond both to individual school needs and to emerging national policy, for example through the introduction of progression targets and deprivation targets. The current accountability framework does not only take account of hard data, but also of valuable qualitative information through self-evaluation and Ofsted inspection.[409]

262.  The problem with the Government's assessment of the accountability system is that it implies that schools welcome the opportunity to take "ownership of their own improvement" but then provides the perfect example of how they have been prevented from doing just that. The "flexibility" of the system, allowing a constant shift in priorities by central government, is precisely the reason why schools are struggling to engage with the accountability regime and myriad school improvement mechanisms. The Government refers to the flexibility of the accountability system as if this is an inherent benefit. The opposite is true. Schools and, indeed, local authorities are in sore need of a period of stability so that they can regroup, take the necessary time to identify where their priorities lie and then work, with appropriate support, to secure the necessary improvements.

263.  Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools told us that "I have … said [in my Annual Report] for two years that the number of children going from primary to secondary school who can't read is far too high, and that we are letting down generations of children".[410] This is a damning judgement of a system of education in England which is failing some pupils at a fundamental level.

264.  Our series of three inquiries, of which this is the last, has sought to uncover the reasons why some children are not receiving a rounded education which is appropriate to their needs. In our report on Testing and Assessment, we found that the testing and assessment system and targets culture disseminated from central government had the effect of distorting the education of many children. There was too much emphasis on high-stakes testing in the core subjects and too little on the needs of individual children. Our National Curriculum inquiry found that teachers were constrained by an over-specified curriculum which takes up almost all of the school week, leaving little room for innovation and an individualised approach. This, final, report in the series has identified deep flaws in an accountability system which is intended to provide the gateway to school improvement but whose complexity and inconsistency provides a real barrier to that improvement. Schools cannot be coerced into improving: it is a process which they must own for themselves if it is to be successful.

265.  It is time for the Government to allow schools to refocus their efforts on what matters: children. For too long, schools have struggled to cope with changing priorities, constant waves of new initiatives from central government, and the stresses and distortions caused by performance tables and targets.

266.  The Government should place more faith in the professionalism of teachers and should support them with a simplified accountability and improvement system which challenges and encourages good practice rather than stigmatising and undermining those who are struggling. In doing so, it is vital for effective accountability that the independence of HM Inspectorate be safeguarded and maintained at all times. We believe that the Government should revisit the plans set out in its 21st Century Schools White Paper and simplify considerably the accountability framework and improvement strategies it proposes.

359   New Relationship with Schools, p3 Back

360   New Relationship with Schools, p8 Back

361   Ev 10 Back

362   Research commissioned by LGA from National Foundation for Education Research on the local authority role in school improvement Back

363   A provider of school support and improvement services Back

364   Ev 186 Back

365   Q 78 Back

366   Q 87 Back

367   Q 204 Back

368   Professor Peter Tymms, Durham University Back

369   Ev 170 Back

370   Q 476 Back

371   Ev 43 Back

372   The Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee remarked on the complexity of the new decision-making structure in its Seventh Report of Session 2008-09, HC 530, para 152 Back

373   Q 83 Back

374   Ev 43 Back

375   Your child, your schools, our future, DCSF, Cm 7588, Chapter 3; A School Report Card: Prospectus, DCSF and Ofsted, June 2009, p 45 Back

376   Ev 115  Back

377   Ev 10  Back

378   Ev 12-14 Back

379   Ev 63  Back

380   Ev 145 Back

381   Ev 14  Back

382   Ev 15  Back

383   Ev 14  Back

384   Ev 15  Back

385   Ev 9 Back

386   Ev 15  Back

387   Ev 63 Back

388   DCSF performance data quoted in Library Research Paper 09/15, pp108-109 Back

389   Ev 189; Ev 63 Back

390   CVA, or Contextual Value Added, is a performance score adjusted to take account of a school's context; "Outstanding but challenged", Times Educational Supplement (TES), 31 October 2008, p6; "National Challenge or national disgrace", Managing Schools Today, September/October 2008, pp14 and 15; "Threatened schools to mentor academies", TES, 3 October 2008, p3; "real challenge will be to avoid past mistakes", and "Tough targets alone will not be enough", TES, 4 July 2008, p14; "When success means failure", Managing Schools Today, June/July 2008, pp 8and 9; "'Failing' tag slashes intakes", TES, 25 July 2008, p1; Threatened schools are doing well", TES, 20 June 2008, p1: "Congratulations! But we may now close you", TES, 20 June 2008, p10; "Unfairness of being tagged a failure", 13 June 2008, TES, 13 June p7; "Failing schools threatened with being taken over", Financial Times, 9 June 2008, p2 Back

391   Q 296 Back

392   Q 91 Back

393   Ev 1; Ev 12  Back

394   Ev 10-11  Back

395   Ev 10-11 Back

396   Ev 150  Back

397   Your child, your schools, our future, DCSF, Cm 7588, paras 4.1 & 4.8 Back

398   Ev 8 Back

399   DfES and Ofsted (2004) A New Relationship with Schools  Back

400   Ev 10  Back

401   Ev 13; Ev 15; Ev 16; NUT response to the DCSF/Ofsted consultation on the School Report Card; Q 13; Q 38; Q 196; Q 261 Back

402   Mathematics in Education and Industry; Ev 180; Ev 10; Ev 62; Ev 63; Ev 15  Back

403   Q 144 Back

404   Q 196 Back

405   Q 190 Back

406   Ev 15  Back

407   Ev 17; see also Ev 11 Back

408   Ev 12  Back

409   Ev 147 Back

410   Q 284 Back

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