Schools are placing pupils’ education and future social mobility at risk by becoming exam factories that fail to provide children with a decent grounding in a broad range of subjects, the head of Ofsted has warned.
Amanda Spielman condemned schools that focus too heavily on passing Sats and GCSEs, accusing them of offering children a “flimsy” education.
She argued that there should be no tension between exam success and a good curriculum, stating: “A good curriculum should lead to good results. However, good examination results in of themselves don’t always mean that the pupil received rich and full knowledge from the curriculum.
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“In the worst cases, teaching to the test, rather than teaching the full curriculum, leaves a pupil with a hollowed-out and flimsy understanding.”
Ms Spielman’s intervention is likely to anger headteachers and their staff, however, as they believe it is the Government’s accountability system that pushes schools to take such measures.
Her comments come in response to the initial findings of an Ofsted review, which was commissioned by the schools’ Chief Inspector in response to what she has previously called a “gaming scandal” in England’s schools.
The research found that some primary schools were setting their pupils test papers every week as early as Year 5 for assessments that would not be sat until the end of Year 6.
Ms Spielman criticised schools that focused too heavily on