Consultation on better information for parents on their child’s school

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Parents are to get a clear, at-a-glance view of how their children’s schools are performing in a series of key measures.

The essential information would be published, in a consistent way, on the front page of the website of every primary school, secondary school, college and school sixth form.

It will mean that parents will be able to get a clear picture of how their children’s schools are performing - and will be able to compare the results of prospective schools and colleges, allowing them to make informed choices about which institution they might attend in the future.

The Department for Education launched a consultation on the proposals, which would come in from 2016.

The highly respected OECD is clear that strong systems of accountability that give parents key information are a key characteristic of high-performing education jurisdictions.

Current guidelines already require schools to publish information on performance. However, where and how this information is presented varies between schools and colleges, making it difficult and time-consuming for parents to find out the information they need. Up until now colleges have not been required to publish evidence of their performance online.

Under the proposals:
primary schools will show:

  • pupils’ progress from age 4 to 11 (compared to others with similar starting points in reception)
  • what proportion reach the demanding new standard at age 11
  • how well pupils do on average at age 11
  • what proportion of their pupils are rated ‘high achieving’

secondary schools will show:

  • pupils’ progress from age 11 to 16 (compared to others with the same results at age 11)
  • what their pupils’ average grade is across 8 subjects
  • what proportion of their pupils achieve at least a C in English and maths
  • what proportion of their pupils achieve the EBacc

colleges and school sixth forms will show:

  • students’ progress in academic subjects or Tech Levels (the new gold-standard technical qualifications that finally place vocational education on a par with A levels)
  • what students’ average grade is in each category
  • the progress made by students who joined them without a C in English and/or maths
  • what proportion of their students drop out
  • what proportion of their students go on to further study, a job or training at the end of their courses (when the data is robust enough)

Every year the measure will be automatically updated, reflecting the latest performance statistics, saving schools the onerous task of editing their website.

To ensure the new performance measures feature on all schools and colleges websites, changes will be made to the School Information Regulations setting out that the new headline measures must be published. Changes will also be made to the funding agreements to all 16 to 19 academies and colleges ensuring that the new performance measure features on their website.

Schools Minister David Laws said: “The information that will be published online by every school and college in future will support parents when choosing the best school or college for their child and help them challenge poor performance. Schools will no longer be able to hide away bad results.

“This change returns power to parents and would allow them to identify excellent schools or ask the difficult questions about why their child’s school isn’t performing.”

School Leadership Today
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