18 Feb 11

Hold politicians, not schools, accountable for pupils' careers


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:

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.


politicians are the threat for the students politics should be avoid in every sector.

You've given a long list of things you don't think schools should be held accountable for. So what *should* we be held accountable for? Personally I'd rather also be held accountable for long-term student success than just exam results alone, otherwise we're all victims of the big exams game that nobody wins because they change the rules every year or so.

There are things which a school should be accountable for the use of public resources, the quality of its staff, the in-service training it provides, the range of opportunities it provides for its students, etc, etc.

However, all of these are constrained by the resources provided by government and local authorities, by the impositions of curriculum and examination systems, central targets etc.

How do we apportion who government, parents, schools, pupils etc bears responsibility for what? Many issues are shared responsibilities and accountabilities and not mutually exclusive.

I agree that there are a vast number of factors that affect the success of students, but I don't believe that it means that teachers and schools shouldn't be willing to be judged by their ability to raise students' aspirations.

I believe that parents should not be allowed to abrogate responsibility for their children's success or behaviour on grounds of 'too many other influences we can't control' and I feel the same about schools. If a school starts accepting that it is neither responsible nor in control then it is far too easy to give up. Personally I feel I teach better knowing that I will be held accountable by my school and the student's parents for my efforts.

I think that by measuring long-term success and interpreting it sensibly, sensitively, and with understanding of context, we can do an enormous amount of good for the education system.

If the only reason that you don't want the measurements made is to stop them being misinterpreted or misused then I think you do the profession a disservice. More information cannot be harmful - we are strong enough and professional enough to use it to improve ourselves.

I've blogged about this: http://www.informededucation.com/?p=74

school is the place where students can gather their knowledge if politicians are gathering there , they should be stopped at once. because if students can not learn their lessons they can not widen their latent talent. after that there will be a huge problem for whole country.country will goes to ruin then. it will affect to the countries prosperity.so politicians should step out from the studnets field

Ancient Chinese Proverb: "Teachers open the door but you must walk through it yourself."

Politics must be avoided, it really hamper study...
Thanks for sharing this great post.

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