According to an article in The Guardian:
"A clause in the education bill currently going through parliament will allow the government to match details from the national pupil database with another run by councils that holds information on 13- to 19-year-olds. The council database, known as the client caseload information system, is currently used to track progress on measures such as cutting the number of teenagers living on benefits. The government intends to use the new power under the bill to generate "destination data" about what pupils do after they leave school or college.
"The education secretary, Michael Gove, said: 'If we are serious about holding schools to account, we need to develop a much sharper focus on what happens to pupils as they move through school, as well as after they leave. Publishing information about what pupils do after their GCSEs will tell parents how good their local school is at encouraging pupils to stay in education or training. And post-18 destination data which tells us if pupils are moving into good university courses, high-quality apprenticeships, or satisfying jobs will give parents real-world information about how well schools are preparing young people for a fulfilling future."
This raises a number of questions.
How can schools be accountable for:
- the state of the economy
- the closure of local employers
- pupils' free will
- social disadvantage
- a Government that wants pupils to take GCSE Ancient Greek, rather than ICT or other vocational subjects, in order to qualify for the EBacc
- the scrapping of the EMA
- tuition fees and higher education funding
- the careers advice their former pupils go on to receive at university
- parental income influencing students' decisions on employment, further education or training
- parental or student income affecting students' ability to undertake gap years, voluntary work or internships
- wealthy parents' ability to purchase internships for their children (in order to raise funds for Mr Gove's party) (a week's work experience at a Mayfair hedge fund @ £2,500, a week at a PR company @£2,000, a week at a private bank @£3,500, a week at a London fashion business @£2,000, two weeks at Tatler magazine, a snip@ £4,000, two weeks at Harvey Nichols @£2,750 and, best bargain of all, a day's work as an extra on the set of Downton Abbey @ only £25,000 presumably you have to live in a house like Downton Abbey to buy the day's work) ?
Who decides what are "good university courses, high-quality apprenticeships, or satisfying jobs" or and what criteria will be used to judge "a fulfilling future" economic value, income achieved, social worth, individual satisfaction, ministerial satisfaction?
Has Mr Gove visited the "real world" recently, or is he wandering the set of Downton Abbey, dreaming of a computer-less school where all the children in their caps and blazers chant the names of all the monarchs from 1066 and converse in Latin and Ancient Greek with the school masters and mistresses in their mortarboards and gowns?
As one of this Blog's readers put it, it's a shame that politicians aren't subject to the Trades Description Act for delivering goods or services that "are not 'fit for the purpose they are intended for' Nothing will change in the country until politicians are made more accountable to the electorate."
If we are serious about holding politicians to account, the resulting 'Ofpol' would probably find the Government "inadequate" and it would be placed in special measures.