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Education Education

Improve schools’ accountability at Key Stage 3

Last updated: 01:08pm 3 September 2018

To maintain progress as children go through secondary school, we will improve schools’ accountability at key stage 3.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.51

Our verdict

On the surface, it is clear that good schools should provide a high standard of education for all pupils. But this policy becomes more complex when you break it down. What should schools teach? What is a “high standard of education”?  Should all pupils aim for similar targets?

School “accountability” in this policy refers to a set of measures used by school leaders and governing bodies to capture school performance. These statistics inform parents and pupils, and provide evidence which may trigger inspections and interventions.  The theory is that accountability measures help schools to improve the quality of their provision. In 2015, Key Stage 3 (KS3) progress came under the scrutiny of Ofsted due to concerns about quality of teaching and pupil attainment. Currently, the accountability measures only require schools to capture data at Key Stages 2, 4 and 5.

However, so far we have found no official evidence that the government has started looking at this. In May 2018, Education Secretary Damian Hind announced the publication of a new set of guiding principles for school accountability but there is no specific mention of Key Stage 3.

At the moment, we don’t have evidence that the government is working to improve “schools’ accountability” at Key Stage 3, so we consider this policy as ‘not started’.  To move this to ‘in progress’ we would expect evidence at least of plans to include KS3 data in school accountability measures.

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