The Society of Authors (SoA) has welcomed proposals from Ofsted to place less emphasis on exams, saying the move would encourage more schools to take up creative subjects.
In a speech to school leaders in Newcastle, Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman has said the organisation has “too much weight on test and exam results when we consider the overall effectiveness of schools.” This has “increased the pressure on school leaders, teachers and indirectly on pupils to deliver perfect data above all else", she said.
Under a proposed new inspection framework, Ofsted inspectors will assess the teaching of the curriculum as a whole and schools will be rewarded for offering pupils a broad range of subjects.
In a statement, the SoA said: “The Society of Authors welcomes the proposed move. We have long emphasised the importance of providing students with a well-rounded education that encourages interest in learning and develops creativity. Too much focus on teaching to exams can stifle enthusiasm and discourage students from acquiring a broader understanding of the subject.
“We are concerned about the narrowing of the curriculum and the year-on-year decrease in the number of students taking creative subjects, largely due to the expansion of the EBacc which excludes creative subjects. We hope that a new approach from Ofsted, which recognises the value of a broad education, will go some way to addressing the current imbalance and encouraging more schools to take up creative subjects.”
Shoo Rayner, chair of the children’s writer’s and illustrators group (CWIG), part of the SoA, said: “Over the last few years we have all noticed, and been dismayed by the decline of creative subjects made available to children. Also, we have witnessed the increasing despair of teachers who have to teach to the test, leaving little time to offer a broader education.
“The future workplace of this country requires a well-rounded, inquisitive, creative, self-motivated, collaborative workforce... Our members are ready and willing to help schools bring creativity back to the classroom.”
The proposals for a new inspection framework will go out to consultation in January.