Education Bill

Memorandum submitted by Vernon Riley (E 120)

Background : I am a parent of two ‘bright children’ trying to find out what a local state primary school will do to actively enable pupils assessed as ‘most able’ to achieve their full potential. I am concerned that such pupils may be treated simply as ‘not a problem’ and the attention focused on those other pupils where improved performance will be most likely to affect overall results in league tables.

Points for consideration:

1. The education bill clearly accepts the role that external assessment can play in driving up standards and in section 40 adjusts the matters to be covered in the Chief Inspector’s report. Unfortunate the bill currently fails to recognise the contribution that proper self assessment by schools of their own organisation and practice can make in driving up those standards.

2. Whilst the bill includes provision for reporting on the "extent to which the education provided... meets the needs of ...(i) pupils with a disability... and (ii) pupils who have special educational needs it does not clearly identify whether those at the top end of the spectrum (aka gifted and talented) are included in these categories or not. I believe those at the top end should be; as there is a serious risk of depriving this country if pupils under achieve their true potential due to confusion about the matters that need to be considered during school assessments, and a resulting lack of appropriate provision.

3. I believe the bill should state that all of the comments about the matters on which the Chief Inspectors should report (strengthening subsection 5 of the education Act 2005) are also required elements for schools to self inspect. This is particularly important where schools for one reason or another are or will not be subject to external inspection by Ofsted or other bodies.

4. If all the required matters for assessment were described clearly then this would help parents to gain access to the information that could help them better support, and encourage schools to improve performance for the good of their children, the school; and ultimately the country.

April 2011