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NAHT accountability commission prepares to publish report

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NAHT’s accountability commission was created with a view to bringing together leading educationalists and experts to consider the case for a reformed school accountability system.

School leaders recognise the need for external accountability, but NAHT believes that the current high-stakes, low trust system is doing more harm than good. Our own evidence suggests that the accountability system is a major driver of workload, stress and fear amongst teachers and school leaders; it impedes recruitment and retention, undermines a healthy work-life balance for individuals and leads to a wide-range of unintended consequences, perverse incentives and gaming.

Rather than acting as a force for improvement, NAHT believes that the current accountability system stifles innovation and acts as a brake on improvement in many schools.

The commission's role was to review the evidence and map out a new approach to school accountability – one that works better for schools, supports the provision of excellent education for all and maintains public confidence.

NAHT will publish the commission's report in September 2018, alongside findings from research undertaken by NfER specifically to inform the work of the commission. The report will propose a long-term alternative vision for school accountability and also make recommendations for short to medium term change, to alleviate the negative impacts of current arrangements. 

Scope of review

Through its work, the accountability commission has sought to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the current accountability system through a:

  • review of published data and research on the effectiveness and impact of accountability arrangements in England,
  • consideration of testimony from expert witnesses to the commission.

The commission also considered alternative models of accountability through the:

  • review of international research of the impact of approaches taken in other countries,
  • consideration of transferability of approaches taken to hold professionals to account in other sectors, and
  • testing of alternative proposals against guiding principles, to identify benefits, trade-offs and potential negative consequences of change.

Following a review of the evidence and testimony, the accountability commission will be making recommendations to government.

Membership of the commission

Chair: Nick Brook, NAHT deputy general secretary

Vice-Chair: Sir Robin Bosher

Members: Professor Rebecca Allen, James Bowen, Marie-Claire Bretherton, Sam Butters, Sir Kevan Collins, Sam Freedman, Amanda Hulme, Emma Knights, Andy Mellor, Anne Lyons, Ross Morrison McGill, Dame Alison Peacock, Tim Sherriff, Michael Tidd and Carole Willis. 

For NAHT: Ian Hartwright  and Lydia Vye 

The commission’s report will be made publicly available on the 14 September.


First published 24 July 2018