This was posted on behalf of Trevor Fisher who is having trouble logging in.
Performance tables come out every January and have less to do with performance than government control of the secondary curriculum. This year will intensify both the control aspect of the tables and the weakness of heads in relation to them, as this is the year of the Post-Wolf developments.
Choice and the myths of the all powerful head teacher, still less the laughable argument that schools are autonomous, have long been countered by the reality of performance tables. Government does not dictate directly to schools, which can do a variety of qualifications. But like Animal Farm, while all qualifications were held to be equal under New Labour, under the coalition some qualifications have been more equal than others. The old rule that 5 A*-C including GCSE equivalents left schools with some freedom. In the world of the autonomous school under the Coalition, freedom became what the Minister said at any moment.
The Ebacc decreed an old academic curriculum was core, whatever the official national curriculum said. And the national curriculum was downgraded as academy/free schools had to be liberated from it. But not from Performance Tables. The post Wolf Report decree ripped out most Vocational Equivalents. This is the big news this year, as the Voc Quals drop out and academies rely heavily on them to succeed. But will media notice?
Then Gove decided only the first sitting counted, denying second chances to pupils. A decision made after courses started, sparking fury among the heads. But will the heads have decided to ignore the decree? We will not know from the Government tables. However the heads have set up their own alternative, and comparisons may be illuminating. If anyone can make the comparisons.
Then the IGCSE has been banned from the 2017 tables, a decision driven by the demand not to have comparisons with the new reformed GCSEs. However private schools can do them, and perhaps state schools. But again, they will not appear in the Performance Tables. The only honest reason for this is to prevent comparisons with the new OFQUAL approved reformed GCSEs. Comparisons could be odious.
The Head's alternative performance tables will not be credible, and will be ignored by media. Every paper in my area runs the government data, often well out of date. This is what the schools are judged on, and what gives head teachers their running orders. The performance tables do measure performance – but only of the heads' obedience to government orders, nothing else. How long can this go on?
Trevor Fisher28 1 15