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Executive Headteachers: What’s in a Name?

By Karen Wespieser

The naming of reports can be a tricky affair. Try to be too witty and the meaning becomes obtuse. Try to be too literal and it sounds boring. But the naming of our new report on executive headteachers (EHTs) didn’t suffer from this problem. One of the considerations we faced from day one of the project was understanding the great variety and breadth of the role. There is more than one kind of executive headteacher and the role is still evolving in response to the self-improving school system, so understanding what’s in a name was a pivotal part of the project. Continue reading


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Don’t forget the ‘parent’ in transparent when it comes to the role of Regional Schools Commissioners

By Karen Wespieser

Today the Education Select Committee published their report on The role of Regional Schools Commissioners.

NFER provided evidence to the inquiry – both written and oral – based on our Guide to Regional Schools Commissioners. Our Guide explained the background and role of the RSCs, and presented an analysis of characteristics and challenges for each region, including the number of ‘coasting’ schools that the RSCs will need to tackle if the Education and Adoption Bill becomes law. Continue reading


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Schools’ capacity for change in interesting times

By Ben Durbin

May you live in interesting times. It’s not a pronouncement you make on your friends – reputedly of Chinese origin, it is generally used as a curse.  Schools have certainly been living through some interesting times of late, with reforms affecting what pupils are taught, how they’re assessed, the standards they’re expected to achieve, and the way in which schools are held to account.  The latest developments came last week with the launch of a new assessment without levels commission. Continue reading


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How should secondary schools be held to account?

I’m very lucky working at NFER in that I have a large team of incredibly knowledgeable people around me – we work well together sharing out the jobs that need doing.  But when the consultation on secondary school accountability was launched I knew this was something I wanted to lead on myself.  The ways in which schools in England are held to account is at the very heart of whether our education system delivers what we, as a society, need it to or not. Continue reading