DfE scheme to rate textbooks ‘would be devastating’

Tes is reporting that educational publishers are concerned that the Department for Education wants to introduce a quality-assurance scheme for textbooks and other curriculum resources, which they say would be “devastating”.

The DfE has been talking to publishers about “how best to inform teachers about what high-quality resources are available”.

And research commissioned by the DfE on the “use and perceptions of curriculum support resources in schools” has suggested: “The introduction of a national quality mark for resources would provide some confidence to teachers and schools more broadly so that resourcing (and therefore budgeting) decisions being made were informed by an additional layer of quality assurance.”

Fears have also been raised by a report in the Bookseller magazine, which said that the DfE was thought to favour educational resources being put before an assessment panel, which would rate them as gold, silver or bronze, in a scheme supported in some way by the £7.7 million curriculum fund.

The DfE has previously used a panel approach to assess which maths-mastery materials should become eligible for match-funding through its Teaching for Mastery programme. Currently, only two programmes – Maths: No Problem! and Power Maths Key Stage 1 – have been approved for match-funding. And, for the first year of funding, only Maths: No Problem! had been approved, causing concern among heads about the lack of choice for schools.

Emma House, deputy chief executive officer of the Publishers Association, said: “We and our members within educational publishing are absolutely committed to a constructive dialogue with the DfE on this project.

“Of course, some form of quality assurance can be helpful in terms of assisting schools and teachers to identify quality products and secure the best value. However, externally implemented schemes carry risk, and must be very carefully planned and introduced otherwise it can inadvertently restrict teacher choice and limit investment in new products.”

Read the full article DfE scheme to rate textbooks ‘would be devastating’

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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