The blame game

25th January 2013 at 00:00

I was disappointed with Jon Coles' comment piece entitled "Accountability works. Let's have more of it" (11 January).

I would like to offer my view of the origins of "accountability".Someone connected to the government of the 1980s decided that there were good ways to prevent politicians from being blamed all the time. In the case of education, the solution was league tables and increased testing. You could then make schools "accountable" for their results and blame lower-performing schools for failing to achieve. Of course, this would be totally unfair because these lower-performing schools might simply have lower-ability intakes - but who would care? Most of that government would have used the private sector anyway.

In reality, things got even worse. Parents were offered more choice, with the obvious effect that parents of potentially higher-performing children in the catchment areas of lower-performing schools made different choices. As a result, many lower-performing schools' results would have been adversely affected, and the term "failing schools" made it easier not be a "failing government". Basically, it's all part of a rather successful "blame game". Schools can no longer think of using terms such as "caring" or "pupils" but have had to move on to terms such as "results" and "accountability".

As someone who started teaching in the 1970s, I wonder if there is a prevailing feeling that teachers and schools of that time couldn't have been doing a good job simply because they weren't "accountable" in the way that they are now.

Mike Rath, Barnstaple, Devon.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now