A Royal College of Teaching, roll out “London Challenge” & spread quality teaching. Academics respond to Ofsted.

“Grounds for optimism but serious challenges remain” – Ofsted’s Annual Report 2012/13, was published today. The Education Media Centre asked a number of academic experts to draw on their research to respond. Here is a summary. Longer comments are also available.

Becky Francis, Professor of Education and Social Justice, King’s College London has found that pupils from poorer homes tend to end up in lower quality schools. ”It is for this reason we need to support struggling schools to improve, so that all children, whatever their background, have access to an excellent education.”

Professor Francis also supports the idea of a Royal College of Teaching to help spread research evidence and the best teaching methods, “We need a Royal College of Teaching to act as a forum for professional excellence.”

Professor Anna Vignoles, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge:

“It is good to see Sir Michael recognising that “tenacious and committed teachers” are driving the improvements to the system: there is definitive research evidence that the quality of teaching is absolutely central to pupils’ achievement. However, the relative importance of recent government reforms or the change in the OFSTED framework in explaining any improvement is yet unproven”

“Sir Michael highlighted a key issue, namely the extensive variation in academic achievement across different regions. There is indeed a great deal of difference in achievement levels across regions but what is far less clear is the role that underperforming schools per se play in creating these differences. Other factors are likely to be important too.

Professor Pamela Sammons, Department of Education, University of Oxford:

“The annual report has drawn attention to improvements in schools in England. It should be recognised this is part of a longer term trend that has been evident from the late 1990s and has been documented elsewhere.”

“Inspection has played a part in this process but wider policy developments and investments have also been important.”

“The London Challenge, for example, drew on the growing evidence base of school effectiveness and improvement research and evaluations indicate that this played a crucial role in the improvement of schools in the capital.”

“The Ofsted findings on regional variation and especially of poorer standards in ‘peripheral regions’ reflect the absence of such improvement strategies elsewhere.”

“School effectiveness and improvement research has consistently pointed to the importance of a positive school culture, high expectations and the quality of teaching and leadership in schools and the Annual Report echoes the conclusions of such research.”

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