Increasing numbers of teachers in academy schools have contacted a confidential helpline to complain that they’re under pressure to inflate their students’ marks. The removal of local authority oversight and competition between schools are being blamed.
Over the last year the charity Public Concern at Work has seen an 80% increase in the number of complaints from the education sector, with a noticeable rise in calls from teachers in academies, The Guardian reports. They say that they’re being forced to artificially boost pupils’ grades, by ensuring that marks for coursework and internally assessed exams are high, even if they’re not deserved.
Academies are given more freedom than other state schools, but this had led to concerns that the loss of local authority oversight has resulted in teachers being pressurised into breaking the rules. Francesca West from Public Concern at Work said: “Many of these concerns have come from teachers within schools with new academy status that are under pressure to maintain high results. We think that a lot of teachers are looking for support from us now because of the removal of oversight by local authorities.”
A DfE spokesman said there was no evidence that malpractice is more likely in academies than in maintained schools: “Over a thousand schools have chosen to become academies over the last year, but these claims make no attempt to take account of that. Ofqual and all the exam boards have mechanisms to deal with complaints and teachers should contact them if they have any concerns.”
Have you come under pressure to artificially inflate your pupils’ grades?