Sir David Carter, the National Schools Commissioner*, suggested schools should be judged on the performance of former pupils at age 25, TES reports.
But this would tell us nothing about the current quality of education in schools in the same way as Ofsted judgements which are eight or more years old don’t reflect what’s going on in those schools today.
The suggested measure would require judgements to be made about how to assess ‘performance’. Using earnings as a metric assesses performance solely in financial terms. But it does not follow that the highest earners are doing the most valuable work. If performance is linked to job status, then this raises question about how to assess status. Vocational v academic? Practical v intellectual? Blue-collar v managerial?
If it were to be measured by post-school achievement, this would judge schools on factors outside their control. A promising student may drop-out of university, for example. Or a pupil who left school with no qualifications could work hard and gain a degree. The qualifications achieved, or not achieved, by such young people have no bearing on the quality of education they received in schools.
Sir David also said the attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils was ‘our civil rights challenge in this country’. But the best way to close the gap is to bring children out of poverty not to place all the responsibility on to schools. And, as we’ve pointed out before, the ability of schools to promote social mobility is limited.
*Although called the National Schools Commissioner, anyone holding this post is expected to beat the drum for academies and free schools thereby ignoring the rest until, of course, they join the sector labelled 'academies'.