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Structures, inspection and accountability


School leaders understand the need for public accountability. Parents, politicians and the wider public want to be sure that schools are doing their very best for the children they serve.

However, we also recognise that the current low-trust accountability system is based on a narrow range of measures that drive a range of perverse incentives and unintended consequences and that the current high-stakes inspection system all too often instils fear and stifles innovation. 

NAHT is committed to securing fairer methods and measures of accountability, so that pupils’ performance and school effectiveness are judged using a broad range of information, including the school's broader context and performance history, rather than a narrow focus on data.

Ensure published performance data are calculated and used fairly

  • Press the government to take action to ensure understanding across the sector of changes to primary progress data from 2020
  • Engage with the DfE to ensure that the reception baseline assessment is a valid baseline for progress 
  • Work with the DfE to ensure the methodology, publication and use of performance data is accurate, proportionate and appropriate.


Press for a transition from vertical high-stakes approach to accountability to a lateral system with greater ownership by the profession itself

  • Further develop, articulate and argue the case for a new approach to school accountability, building on NAHT's Commission, and working with other partners
  • Campaign against a hard accountability measure on exclusions
  • Make the case and lobby for a wholly independent complaints process for appeals against Ofsted inspection judgements
  • Lobby for the publication of all training materials for inspectors to ensure transparency and equity
  • Lobby Ofsted for greater transparency regarding the experience, skills and training of inspectors for specific phases and settings
  • Monitor members' experiences of the new inspection framework, holding Ofsted to account for the consistency, reliability and behaviour of inspectors, particularly around curriculum and the quality of education judgement.


Ensure any changes to school structures or systems benefit all pupils within a local community

  • Continue to oppose any form of forced academisation
  • Continue to oppose any expansion of grammar schools
  • Promote and advance local accountability, transparency and democracy in school structures and governance so that schools are best able to serve their wider local community
  • Make the case for centrally coordinated place planning to ensure all new school provision meets demand
  • Promote the full variety of school collaboration from Trusts to informal collaborations. 

The Department for Education’s school attendance data trial reaches the end of the first phase

In March, the Department for Education launched a voluntary data collection trial, to automatically gather and share back daily attendance data from the schools and multi-academy trusts who complete its census.

Collecting and sharing this data will give schools, local authorities, and multi-academy trusts access to more timely pupil level attendance data without adding to workloads or costs.

This process captures data at UPN level, so it can be used to track an individual pupil’s attendance or be used to look at cohorts within areas and/or settings. The data will also be available to local authorities to inform targeted approaches to support the attendance of vulnerable groups, such as looked-after children or pupils with special educational needs.

The trial has now reached the end of its first phase – the sharing back of data with those areas and settings who signed up. So far, this includes 70% of eligible settings.

The trial is being delivered by Wonde, which is compatible with – and can extract data from – a number of management information systems used nationally.

You can sign up to join the trial here

First published 18 July 2022