Ofsted is planning to clampdown on exam factory schools by bringing in a new framework for inspections that would judge the quality of education being provided to pupils.
The aim would see the use of exam results being downgraded as a way to measure a school’s quality.
The planned move to the new measures was leaked to a national newspaper, but the Department for Education has restated its desire to use exam results as being the best way to judge a school’s performance.
The Sunday Times reported that the chief inspector of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, wants to bring an end to the school culture of cramming youngsters for their tests and exams.
The newspaper reported that the new inspection framework is being planned for next year.
‘Outcomes’ or exam results which schools have been judged by
Instead, of ‘outcomes’ or exam results which schools have been judged by for some years, there will be a quality of education measure brought in to help reflect the richer education being provided.
As a result, inspectors will be asked to identify and then down mark ‘exam factory schools’ that are narrowly teaching to the test rather than offering a rich education experience in sport, music, drama and art.
Ms Spielman says children are being betrayed by these schools.
The Sunday Times reports one of the Ofsted chiefs as saying: “It’s time to stop the culture of cramming children.”
The newspaper quotes someone in Ofsted who understands what the new inspection plans are and that is to deliver a richer educational experience which will bring about a major shift in culture.
School league tables being based on exam results
This would mean that instead of focusing on the 26 years with school league tables being based on exam results, the new inspection regime would take into account other experiences and downgrade schools that cram youngsters to do well in the tests and exams.
The planned overhaul is set to go out to consultation after news reports recently revealed that pupils have either been breaking down or have not turned up for their GCSEs or their SAT tests at the ages of seven and 11.
The move to introduce reform is the culmination of Ms Spielman criticising schools in recent months for putting exams first rather than the interests of their pupils.
The newspaper highlights that Ofsted has been alarmed by the number of primary schools where 11-year-olds are spending most of their final year being crammed in maths and English and in other primaries where testing begins in Year Four.
In response to the article, the DfE says it does not comment on speculation and said that all children should have a quality education with England’s offering being on a par with some of the world’s best education systems to help provide young people with the skills and knowledge that employers are looking for.