This is possibly the most serious example yet of the corruption of our school system by a combination of marketisation and the response of Academy and Free School MATS.
The ruthless pursuit of 'outstanding' status introduces perverse incentives that degrade the quality of teaching and learning replacing developmental approaches by 'red in tooth and claw' behaviourism. OfSTED makes this possible because its judgements are based on flawed, high stakes performance measures. The Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman was right to draw attention to gaming, cheating and the curriculum distortion that results, but what will she do about it? Don't hold your breath.
By compelling schools to be subject to a market in school choice, exercised by parents on the basis of simplistic school performance indicators in the context of privatised examination boards competing to sell their exams, curriculum and teaching methods have become degraded resulting in a significant real decline in educational standards despite the illusion of school improvement. The irony is that the 2010 Conservative-led coalition government under Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove had, unlike his New Labour predecessors, recognised this decline but Gove and his successor were ideologically and disastrously blind to its causes.
Much current teaching in schools that is commonly believed by the government to be ‘good’ is in fact ‘bad’ because it is ‘teaching to the test’ and does not result in cognitive growth.
Cognitive development is secured through ‘developmentalism’. Cognitive gains are achieved through a teaching and learning culture that celebrates mistakes. This approach is maligned in the DfE promoted GERM culture as ‘progressivism’ and is being discouraged in our schools.