Ofsted to investigate schools ‘gaming system’ to move up league tables

The Guardian reports that incoming chief inspector of schools says it is a scandal that puts pressure on schools to perform meaning some are moving pupils off GCSE courses.

Ofsted is to launch a major investigation into schools accused of “gaming the system” by moving out pupils who would drag down their GCSE results, the incoming chief inspector of schools will announce on Friday.

Making her first keynote speech in her new role, Amanda Spielman will say it is “nothing short of a scandal” that schools are entering pupils for non-academic qualifications in order to boost their performance data, because they are under pressure to perform well in league tables.

There is more to a good education than league tables, she will say. “Vitally important though a school’s examination results are, we must not allow curricula to be driven just by Sats, GCSEs and A-levels. It is the substance of education that ultimately creates and changes life chances, not grade stickers from exams,” she is expected to say.

She is expected to say that the pressures of accountability are prompting some schools to try to game the system and will highlight the conflict between a headteacher’s desire to give pupils the right education for their future success and the desire to improve the school’s league table position.

“We know that there are some schools that are narrowing the curriculum, using qualifications inappropriately, and moving out pupils who would drag down results,” she will tell the conference. “That is nothing short of a scandal.

“Childhood isn’t deferrable; young people get one opportunity to learn in school and we owe it to them make sure they all get an education that is broad, rich and deep. There is more to a good education than league tables.”

School inspectors are also being advised look at whether schools have “off-rolled’’ pupils who might have brought down GCSE results by checking if the number on roll in each year group has decreased significantly by Year 11.

More at Ofsted to investigate schools ‘gaming system’ to move up league tables

What are your thoughts on the accusations? Do you think schools are put under far too much pressure? Is the pressure on the schools effecting students? We want to know what you think by commenting below or on Twitter ~ Mercedes

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  1. Nairb1

    Easy. Stop publishing league tables, stop using spurious data to ‘hold schools to account’. Stop Ofsted being used as a blunt instrument to manipulate schools. Scrap the whole sorry mess, set up a Royal Commission to report on the future education policy. Pass legislation to prevent ministers confusing personal whim with coherent policy. And make it illegal to be Nick Gibb.

  2. Mark Simmons

    Here here, couldn’t have put it better. Those in power do seem rather addicted to teacher-bashing though….

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