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Primary Education News
News School inspections deeply toxic, thinktank says
Demos report recommends schools collect views of teachers, students and parents instead of using Ofsted inspectors
School inspectors' reports should be scrapped and replaced with write-ups by parents, students and teachers, according to the thinktank Demos.
The way the government currently holds schools to account is "profoundly toxic", the thinktank argues in a report published on Tuesday.
Inspectors' views of schools are pitted against those of students and teachers, with inspectors' "singular voice allowed to dominate", says the study, entitled Detoxifying School Accountability.
James Park, the report's author and a Demos associate, recommends that instead of Ofsted inspectors publishing their reports schools should collect data each year from teachers, students and parents and produce "an honest account of what is strong and what is less strong in the school".
As this account would be "generated by the school, rather than imposed on it, it would be much more likely to gain the support of the whole school community", Park said.
Meanwhile, a separate report by the centre-left thinktank IPPR warns that government reforms could result in a quarter of a million teenagers no longer being able to study their preferred subjects at school.
The government has said only a few hundred of the nearly 4,000 qualifications now offered to 16- to 19-year-olds will be included in school league tables in future.
Michael Gove, the education secretary, has already stripped most GCSE-equivalent vocational courses from the tables and now plans to wield the axe for those offered to over-16s.
In its report – Vocational education in English schools: Protecting options for pre-16 pupils – the IPPR estimates that as many as 60% of schools plan to reduce the number of vocational qualifications they offer. Most admit this is because they no longer count in league tables.
"The school accountability system … inhibits the development of high-quality vocational provision and, by extension, the development of a better skilled, more productive workforce," the report argues.