Research and International

ASCL position statements

ASCL wants all young people to succeed in order to realise their full potential and to create a workforce with the capacity and skills to enable the UK to thrive in a global economy.  We welcome the contribution all type of schools, colleges and universities can and do make to this through collaboration and partnership.  

The evidence we have seen does not support the premise that the further expansion of selection will improve education for the majority of young people. The evidence indicates that it will have a damaging impact on the life chances of the majority who do not attend a selective school.

The expansion of selection is a distraction to the profession’s efforts to ensure that the education system works for everyone.  

The best way to deliver a good school place for every child is to ensure existing schools and colleges have sufficient funding and access to a ready supply of high quality teachers and leaders.

ASCL welcomes the contribution that the SICI Report makes to a more considered and evidence-based approach to the role of inspection in school improvement. We note the growing trends identified in the report towards clear criteria for school accountability, the promotion of best practice and the evidence of a link between inspection and school improvement.

However inspection alone does not improve school performance. High impact and high stakes inspection regimes can be counter-productive and we note that many high performing school systems do not have formal school inspection. School leaders must be involved in shaping and influencing the education policies for which they are held to account. The evidence in the report of considerable variability in this respect is a concern.

ASCL welcomes rigorous benchmarking of UK educational outcomes against international comparators and the insights it can give into innovative and effective practice both here and abroad.

Whilst there may be some concerns over the methodology used by the OECD to produce the PISA results we accept that it raises significant and useful questions for us, related for instance to our comparatively long tail of under-achievement or significant remaining in-school variation.

However, it is not helpful for politicians and others to:

  • focus misleadingly on precise PISA league table rankings – which are in fact subject to wide confidence intervals – in order to denigrate the profession
  • base policy proposals on specific practice in other jurisdictions which is often culture-specific or unproven.