ASCL responds to UCL research on accountability and teacher stress

18/03/2021

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on UCL research on school accountability and teacher stress.

 

Commenting on UCL research on school accountability and teacher stress, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“This research provides yet more evidence that our excessive school accountability system is counterproductive. Performance tables and Ofsted inspections do more harm than good in their current form. As well as causing high levels of stress - which contribute to teacher shortages - they also stigmatise struggling schools and make it more difficult to attract staff and pupils. 

“We are not arguing for no accountability, but for proportionate accountability. The current system needs to be overhauled so that it is less punitive. Performance tables should provide parents with a broader range of information beyond the government’s narrow obsession with complex metrics around tests and exams. There is so much more to schools.

“We note the findings that there are some schools where the stress caused by accountability is a particularly big problem. School leaders are very conscious of the importance of being careful about how performance data is used, and they work very hard to support their staff. However, it is impossible to insulate staff from the impact of adverse performance tables and inspections. It is horrible to be on the receiving end of a negative judgement, and is demoralising not only for staff, but for pupils, parents, and wider communities.”