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Heads hit back at constant churn of targets
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Head teachers hit back at constant churn of targets as Ofsted demands are changed again less than a year after introduction 

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) says constant moving of targets, without any chance to meet the previous ones, will further narrow the curriculum and undermine schools which are already boosting standards.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “England's primary schools have been improving steadily for many years. There is no lack of ambition here. In fact, the improvements precede rather than follow target changes - the government just tries to maintain a constant proportion of failure. 

“The expected reward for higher performance is always a shifting of the goal posts, so it will be no surprise to head teachers that the floor standard is shifting again next year. 

“The move to present data on the number of students achieving a 'secure' level four is strange as the government has always denied that sub-levels exist for the purpose of performance measures. Primary SATs results provide little useful information to secondary schools on student achievement and ability as they are so narrow. This is just another piece of bureaucracy which will distract schools and have little if any impact on raising standards.”

Mr Hobby added: “The news on pupil premium action plans for schools in the Ofsted categories of ‘requires improvement’ or ‘special measures’ is more troubling. These schools have already had massive new demands placed on them less than a year ago, to which they are reacting. There has been no time to see if these changes have taken effect before adding even more pressure. This looks like a government whose only lever for improvement appears to be to tighten the screws.

“The evidence from high performing countries around the world is that a balance of support and challenge is essential - you improve people's ability to clear the hurdle at the same time as raising the bar. You work to build a shared and inspiring vision with the profession that will help it through the new challenges. This shared vision has been regularly sacrificed to achieve easy headlines based on a straw man account of the education system.” 

Page Published: 05/03/2013

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