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6.4 Central to our approach is the need to make it easier for parents and the public to hold schools to account. In the past, too much information has been unavailable to parents, too difficult to find or not presented comprehensibly. So, as we take away the centralising compliance system – the centrally-driven process of target setting, the requirement for every school to have a school improvement partner (SIP) and the requirement for every school to complete a self evaluation form – we will make sure that there is comprehensive information available to parents about every school.
6.5 We will make publicly available all the information which underpins government statistical publications. For example, we will make publicly available data about attainment in specific subjects, trends over time, class sizes, attendance levels, the composition of the pupil body and financial information. The data will be published in a standardised format which allows anyone to access and analyse it.
6.6 We will publish this school-level data in an easily accessible online format. Parents will be able to choose the aspects of a school in which they are most interested, and search for or rank local schools against these priorities. For example, a parent could look for a local school where pupils with Special Educational Needs make good progress or which has strengths in music. A governor might look at how a particularly effective school is using its budget in order to learn efficiency lessons. We will also publish ‘families of schools’ documents, which group similar schools in a region and provide detailed performance information which can be used by schools to identify other schools from which they can learn.
6.7 We will simplify and modernise statutory requirements about the information which schools must make available for parents. We will require schools to publish comprehensive information online. This should include for example (and as appropriate): admissions information and oversubscription criteria, the school’s curriculum, the school’s phonics and reading schemes, arrangements for setting pupils, the behaviour policy and home school agreement, the special needs policy, information about how the school uses the Pupil Premium, and clear signposting for parents who would like more detailed information on any policies and strategies.
6.8 Schools are best placed to address parents’ concerns – and in almost every case, teachers and head teachers can resolve concerns and issues quickly and easily. Sometimes parents and schools have issues that cannot be resolved locally, and so we will make sure that parents have a route to complain in the most cost effective way, repealing recent legislation which introduced a role for the Local Government Ombudsman.
6.9 We are committed to establishing common performance measures for 16–19 education and training. We will work with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to look at ways of publishing data in a more transparent way to allow parents and students to compare school sixth forms with all other post-16 providers.
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