4 April 2015
New research by Emeritus Professor Merryn Hutchings and Dr Naveed Kazmi for the National Union of Teachers examines the impact of school accountability on children and young people. The interim report, in which Professor Hutchings presents emerging findings, published today, finds:
According to surveys of teachers and case studies of schools, conducted as part of this research:
And of Ofsted, the findings:
The interim report finds no evidence that accountability measures can reduce the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.
As part of Hutchings and Kazmi’s ongoing work, a survey of 8,000 teachers was conducted between 21 November and 14 December 2014. Here are a few of its emerging findings:
A further phase of the research will survey parents. The full report will be published in summer 2015.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The NUT has long argued that league tables, high-stakes testing and other accountability measures have a negative effect on children and young people. Teachers, too, are placed in the invidious position of carrying out myriad requirements to fulfil the Government’s desire to measure everything that can be measured. What gets lost for those who matter most, the pupils, is the rounded education that we all wish to see and the emotional and pastoral support that children and young people also need from their teachers.
“Despite a mass of evidence that accountability mechanisms fail to achieve their stated aims, it is clear that the Coalition Government has only worsened matters. It is deeply saddening that some of the pupils interviewed as part of this research feel reduced to a statistic – jumping through hoops for the benefit of others, and with no space to discover the creative and positive learning that school should provide. It is even more disturbing that some are experiencing serious stress-related conditions because of the pressure that is being piled upon them.
“Whichever Government emerges after the May election, one thing is for sure – the stifling and damaging effects of Ofsted, high-stakes testing and excessive workload simply must not continue.”