Ed Balls on school report cards

13 Mar 2009

Ed Balls say school report cards must be 'simple and easy'

 At the ASCL conference in Birmingham, Education Secretary, Ed Balls, has given a strong hint that the government intends to go ahead with its plans to produce school-by-school report cards.

He also made clear that his preference is for 'simple and easy to understand' report cards, similar to those used by the New York City education department. These award a single overall grade to schools, based on score from A to D, plus F for fail.

He said the government would give the detail of its plans in a White Paper on '21st Century Schools', due in 'early May'.

Teachers' leaders have opposed report cards which give a single overall grade to schools. But Mr Balls suggested that they could replace exam league tables as the main school accountability measure but only if they were easily accessible for parents. 

When I asked him  if this meant they must have a single grade, he would only repeat the need for them to be 'simple' in form and said the detail would have to wait until May.

However it looks pretty clear that the government and the unions are on a collision course over this.

Tomorrow I wll be writing my BBC News column on this topic and will be chairing a debate on report cards at the ASCL conference in Birmingham.

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