ASCL comment on IFS report on applications to secondary schools

Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which shows that many parents don’t consider ‘value-added’ Progress 8 scores when applying to secondary school for their child.
“This study exposes a fundamental problem from a parental perspective with the Progress 8 metric that is used to judge the performance of schools. It is a complex statistical measurement of a child’s progress over time which the Department for Education attempts to simplify with a label such as ‘average’ or ‘above average’ but which is nevertheless somewhat esoteric.

“We need a more rounded approach which better informs parents of the breadth of what a school offers – rather than only examination results. Such an approach might also provide information, for example, on a school’s curriculum and the support it provides to pupils. This would give parents more meaningful and accessible information on which they could base their choices as well as providing a fairer assessment of school performance.”