Accountability: Let’s stop this madness and incentivise the right things

Our heads face the fiercest accountability system with the direst consequences of any. We cannot continue like this. Sir Tm Brighouse and Professor Mick Waters set out their case for a radical overhaul of school inspection and examination


What do 14 secretaries of state all agree about? It was a question which fascinated us as we collected evidence for our book About Our Schools: Improving on previous best (2022).

Of course, party allegiance explains some of their differences but surely what they agreed about must be the right way forward?

Controversially however, what united politicians was a belief in the necessity for Ofsted and the regular inspection and labelling of individual schools much as we have it at present as a vital part of school accountability.

Most of our teacher and headteacher witnesses disagreed, especially with the four school Ofsted categories, claiming that it was far too “high-stakes” in its outcomes and that it didn’t do any favours to schools in challenging circumstances.

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