Neil Fatkin

Should we scrap target grades?

Given that the reliability of GCSE predictions has been called into question by no lesser a body than Ofsted, heads of department should think afresh about classroom accountability, suggests Neil Fatkin

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The peak of my performance as head of geography came in August 2009. The department’s GCSE target grades had been comfortably exceeded, and I felt an overwhelming sense of pride. My colleagues and I basked in the glory. Contrast this with the despair of August 2016: we fell comfortably short of targets and, in the inspectorate Ofsted’s terms, were deemed to be “requiring improvement”.

So what does this mean? Am I the outstanding subject leader of 2009 or the abject failure of 2016?

As it turns out, I am neither.

In 2009, my department had the perfect statistical recipe for success: a large ...

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