‘Teacher-led commission’ on levels will contain no classroom teachers

Concerns have been raised that a “teacher-led” commission set up to help schools move away from national levels used to assess pupils does not include any classroom teachers.

The Department for Education today unveiled the members of the panel, but faced criticism from unions over the lack of front-line teaching staff.

The commission will be led by John McIntosh CBE, a former headmaster of the London Oratory School, and has been created to identify and share best practice in assessment in primary and secondary schools across the country.

But there is concern about the lack of teacher input to the commission.

Nansi Ellis, assistant general secretary of the ATL teaching union, said: “Having no teachers is an oversight that will affect the outcome of this commission because it’s classroom teachers who will have to do the legwork.

“If the new assessments are going to be manageable and something that make sense for children, then they need to have classroom teachers involved.”

Rosamund McNeil, head of education at the NUT, said: “In February, the new commission was described as ‘teacher led’. Yet today’s list reveals that the commission will not benefit from the insight of a classroom teacher on the pressing issues around assessment in education.

“Three headteachers have been appointed to the commission but not a single classroom teacher. Teachers’ experience on assessment in the classroom is invaluable and rudimentary to the commission.”

The commission will feed into the proposals on statutory teacher assessment for pupils at age 7 and 11. The government was forced to redraw its original plans after teachers complained they were unclear, difficult to understand and could lead to extra workload.

The other members of the commission are:

  • Shahed Ahmed, headteacher of Elmhurst Primary School, Newham;
  • Daisy Christodoulou, research and development manager at Ark;
  • Professor Robert Coe, director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University;
  • Sam Freedman, director of research, evaluation and impact at Teach First;
  • Mark Neild, acting headteacher of Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich;
  • Natalie Packer, an independent special educational needs consultant and author of The Perfect SENCO;
  • Dame Alison Peacock, executive head of The Wroxham School.

Related stories:

‘Performance descriptor’ criticism prompts government rethink of primary school assessment26 Feb 2015

Commission created to help schools assess without levels25 Feb 2015

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