The reform of assessment

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HMC asked 800 educators for their views on both the current curriculum and models of assessment. Dr Simon Hyde, General Secretary of HMC, looks at the findings of this survey and why the majority of respondents want to see reform happen urgently.

At the height of the Blitz in 1941 a group of civil servants from the Board of Education gathered to write a blueprint for education after the war. Known to history as The Green Book, it has always struck me as remarkable that whilst the country fought for its survival, the work had already begun on what was to become the Butler Education Act.

Earlier this week HMC (the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference) published a short report which summarised the findings from an extensive survey of educators put into the field in the Summer of 2021. The survey was completed by some 800 individuals, nearly 500 of whom are teachers and senior leaders working in both independent and state schools. In fact, the majority of those 500 teachers were from schools in the state sector. Sarah Fletcher, the High Mistress at St Paul's Girls' School, wrote the report, with support from HMC and many of our Heads. The report was well received by the education sector, picking up positive coverage in the media.

The report uncovered, or perhaps more accurately proved once again, that there is considerable dissatisfaction with the current curriculum and models of assessment. 97% of respondents to the survey believe that the current approach to assessment is in need of reform, and the majority of respondents want to see that reform happen urgently. Whilst many in education would express concern about undertaking reform whilst schools across the country are still facing Covid cases and staff are exhausted, there are some that believe there cannot be any hesitation when pursuing a better education for all children, regardless of their race, gender or background.

Dr Simon Hyde is General Secretary of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC).