Today, the influential Education Policy Institute publishes a report that compares the UK school system with others around the world.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said: “This report shows that England’s obsession with structural change, under a succession of governments, has had little impact on either standards or equity. Policy makers have routinely pursued the wrong priorities.
“The highest performing school systems are those that invest in their teachers and that respect and value education. In our most recent survey of school recruitment issues, school leaders said that 79 per cent of posts were difficult to recruit to, 62 per cent of posts were only filled with a struggle and respondents were unable to recruit at all to an average of 17 per cent of posts.
“Although data from sources like international league tables can be valuable, raw data alone can never give you answers - it just prompts useful questions. NAHT believes that an obsession with test and exam data, particularly when holding schools to account, means that all the other ways that schools contribute to a pupil’s success go under-reported and undervalued. Indeed, employers prize all sorts of skills and abilities that you just can’t capture with a grade or a score.
“‘Having the highest test scores in a narrow range of subjects doesn’t equate to a world-class education, there’s more to it than that and in many important aspects, England’s education system is already world class.
The keys to extending this success are targeted support for schools in those areas and full and fair funding for all schools, so that there’s equality of opportunity for all students, no matter where they live. Imagine where we could be if we spent the next five years focused on what truly matters.”
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