The Better Schools for All? report, published by the Nuffield Foundation, examines the role that schools play in pupils’ education and suggests that the school reforms in the UK in the past two decades have failed to bridge the gap in pupil achievement.
Researchers from University College London and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research looked at data from around 3,000 secondary schools in England between 2003 and 2016 and compared pupil outcomes and teachers’ experiences with those of employees elsewhere.
They found that:
- Attending a “good” secondary school adds only a small amount more value than attending a “bad” secondary school. Overall, schools were found to contribute around 10% of variance in pupil achievement.
- State schools are better at managing staff than private schools. Using Workplace Employment Relations Survey data, the study shows that state schools were more likely to have rigorous hiring practices and employee participation programmes than private schools, and the link between human resource management and effective and high-performing schools was only apparent in the state sector.
- Performance-related pay and performance monitoring, which were found to improve workplace performance elsewhere, were ineffective for teachers.
- Schools with more middle leaders tended to be rated more highly by Ofsted in terms of leadership and management. However, in schools which formed part of a multi-academy trust, no significant relationship was apparent.
Source: Better schools for all? (June 2019), Nuffield Foundation