Progress 8 – will a new education secretary review it?

I sometimes wonder whether I am the only teacher who is concerned about the decision to celebrate progress as an end in itself, rather than as means to reaching a goal. Michael Gove was completely duped by the head teachers’ organisations on this. While I agreed with a lot of what he said about the curriculum, I was not sorry when he went, as his attitude often came across as “heads are wonderful, ordinary teachers need whipping into shape.” Nevertheless, at least he got rid of the national curriculum levels, so at least we teachers do not have to reduce education to every child knowing how many sublevels of progress they need to make every lesson. Having taught in countries which do not use levels, I could never understand our fixation on them. Yet the obsession with progress remains.

Imagine sports day. You won the race? You expect a cup? Oh no! After all, you were 2nd last year, so you’ve made less progress than the child who came 2nd, but was 4th last year, so they should get the cup! As for you, you need to go away and have some intervention to boost your progress!

Sounds daft, but that is the logic behind the decision to embrace Progress 8. I hope a new education secretary, whoever is appointed, will have the courage to review one of Gove’s worst decisions.

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