Leading Article: Value-added matters

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The Independent Online

There is nothing wrong with Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, moving the goalposts to make it harder for schools to be classified as "good" or "outstanding" as a result of their inspections. Indeed, as exam performance improves, there is every reason why they should raise standards. It is worrying, however, that Ofsted has specifically chosen to concentrate more on raw exam results – thus making it harder for a school serving a disadvantaged area to be classified as good.

The decision smacks of political interference as ministers were known to be embarrassed that many of the schools on their list of those failing to obtain five A*-to-C grade passes including maths and English for 30 per cent of their pupils had outstanding Ofsted reports. We share the view of John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, that this will ultimately make it more difficult to recruit teachers to these schools. Surely the best way to judge any school is look at the added value that it brings to the education of all the pupils in it, not just raw exam results, which can often only tell you whether it takes children from an affluent suburb or poor inner-city area?

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