DfE announces changes to secondary accountability and assessment


David Laws MP, Minister of State for Schools, has today announced changes to the secondary school accountability system. The announcement follows a consultation earlier this year, to which the NGA responded.

Mr Laws began by putting forward the government's case for change, which is largely to remove perverse incentives for schools to focus on GCSE students at the C/D borderline. From September 2016, instead of the current 5 A*-C measure schools will be required to publish on their website:
  • Progress across a suite of 8 subjects, as measured from end of key stage 2 statutory assessments ("Progress 8")
  • Average attainment across 8 subjects ("Attainment 8")
  • The percentage of pupils achieving grade C in GCSE English and maths
  • The percentage of pupils achieving the EBacc

These measures will also be the headline indicators in school performance tables. The government are investigating including a destination measure as the fifth indicator, and are currently reviewing the robustness of the statistics on which this would be based. 

The subjects included in the "Progress 8" and "Attainment 8" measures must include English, maths, three "EBacc" subjects and three qualfications from any category (including vocational qualifications). 

The floor standard for schools will be based on the Progress 8 measure, which means that schools with challenging intakes will not be penalised. The government had initially proposed a threshold attainment measure of the percentage of pupils gaining at least a grade C in GCSE English and maths, but following the consultation have decided against this. Schools will fall below the floor standard if pupils make an average of half a grade less progress than expected across their 8 subjects. So, for example, a school is underperforming if its pupils were expected to gain 8 Cs (because that’s what their peers, with similar prior attainment, secure elsewhere in the country) but they actually achieve less than 4Cs and 4Ds. Schools where students gain on average a full grade or more higher than expected will be rewarded with the guarantee that Ofsted will not inspect the school for at least a year.

The new measures will come into force from September 2016, but schools will be able to opt in from 2015. 

Department for Education response to consultation 

David Laws MP oral statement to Parliament