If ministers really want to trust teachers it’s time to ditch the number fairies

Michael Rosen

Do you think it is now possible to produce statistics on schools that not only ignore what teachers, headteachers and parents have to say about the children, but don’t even have to be attached to real pupils? Can there be fictive figures, floating above a school like number fairies?

I had this thought at a school I visited. It went like this: the headteacher tells me he’s just had an Ofsted inspection and it’s not looking good. The inspector looked at the results from year to year and the performance levels haven’t been maintained. The headteacher looks worried, he thinks there is a possibility that they might be put into “special measures” or even forcibly turned into an academy. He pulls out a chart, points at the list of children in year 6 and explains to me that hardly any of them have been at the school for more than 18 months. They are new to the country, new to speaking English. He’s proud that they did so well in the Sats in year 2 for seven-year-olds and proud of his staff.


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