This report takes aim at the target-driven accountability in the English education system: principally, the Ofsted inspection regime, tests and school league tables. For the past twenty years, teachers and school leaders have worked under this regime in one form or another. The argument of this report is that this has proved profoundly toxic, damaging trust between staff, pupils, parents and policy makers, leading to adverse outcomes for students.
Detoxifying School Accountability proposes an alternative model, one which is built around multi-perspective inspection. Such a model would value the opinions of leaders, staff, students, parents and inspectors about a school’s performance, instead of allowing the judgements of one group to prevail against others. The report also outlines the potential to empower students by providing them with a wider choice of tests and qualifications to display their knowledge and skills.
The report argues that, taken together, these changes would generate richer, more useful accounts of each school’s strengths and weaknesses, achieve greater buy-in from all key stakeholders and guarantee all schools are on a path to steady improvement. In turn, this would help to ensure that all young people have a rich experience of learning, and the best possible opportunity to learn.