Our response to the Department for Education consultation on the school accountability system

Friday 26 Apr 2013

We have published our response to the Department for Education consultation on the secondary school accountability system that is used to judge the performance of schools. 

In our response, we argue that a coherent and effective accountability system should contain elements that are not dependent on exam performance. We suggest that the minimum 'floor standard' could include a measure of students' destinations – for example, the number of pupils who are NEET (not in education, employment or training) a year after they leave school. This would be a powerful way of recognising where schools are doing their best to ensure that every pupil has the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to progress and stay in further education or work. Success in exams would be central to success on a destination measure such as NEET, but it would also ensure that schools are rewarded for the important non-academic aspects of the education they provide.

The response includes some other ideas for discussion:

  • using rolling averages over two to three years, rather than snapshot yearly measures, could improve the reliability of accountability measures
  • an approach involving 'warning thresholds', rather than using specified thresholds which automatically classify a school as below the floor
  • including measures looking specifically at the performance of high and low attaining pupils in the floor standard could help to ensure that these pupils are able to make the most of their potential.

We agree with the objectives of the proposed reforms, and believe that they are an improvement on the status quo. Our ideas are intended to inform discussions about how to develop the proposed measures further to better meet the Government's objectives and give schools the best opportunity to continue to improve teaching and learning.

Please read our summary and discussion paper or our full consultation response.