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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. 

School and college performance data 2019/20

On 23 March the Department for Education (DfE) announced they will not publish any school or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams for 2020.

NAHT has been in discussion with the Department for Education about the need for further clarity about the approach and we are pleased that they have now published more detail about what this means for the way school and college accountability will operate for 2019 to 2020. You can read their update here.

In summary:

Schools and colleges will not be held to account on the basis of exams and assessment data from summer 2020.

That data will not be used by others, such as Ofsted and local authorities, to hold schools and colleges to account.

The following will not be published:

  • School, college or multi-academy trust (MAT) level performance data based on summer 2020 tests, assessments and exams at any phase.
  • School, college or MAT level accountability measures, such as Progress 8 and level 3 value added, using the summer 2020 data.
  • Institution-level qualification achievement rates in the national achievement rate tables for the 2019 to 2020 academic year.
  • Any national, regional, local or constituency statistics for any primary school assessments for the 2019 to 2020 academic year.


In addition:

  • The performance tables that were due to be released in October and December 2020, and in January and March 2021.
  • The educational performance data from 2020 exams and assessments will not be shared with schools via Analyse School Performance, or through the ASP accredited service.
  • The primary, secondary or 16 to 18 school and college performance data checking exercises will not be run.
  • Schools and colleges should not use the 2020 exams data as part of their teacher performance management process.

NAHT continues to engage with the DfE and our discussions include the impact on 2021 of the huge disruption to education this year and how the use of any performance data next year can fairly reflect that.

First published 09 April 2020