The 16-19 accountability measures are changing. As the government releases its (very dense) guide setting out how the new measures will work, Schools Week’s Philip Nye, a former National Audit Office auditor, takes on the gruelling task of guiding you through the key features

What’s changing?

The new accountability measures will give a significant refresh to the performance tables published for school sixth forms and colleges. Headline measures will be pulled out, displaying the key indicators of a school or college’s performance more clearly. Additionally, new indicators will be published, with information about retention and student destinations among the headline measures.

Why is this changing?

There are a number of stated aims of the new accountability measures, with informing student choice and helping schools and colleges better assess their own performance key among them. The government has also said that the new data will help Ofsted in their judgments. Although not explicitly stated in the guidance, it should also make it easier to compare school sixth forms and colleges, by broadening the range of performance indicators reported.

When will the change happen?

The new accountability system will come into force in 2016 (with the exception of Substantial Vocational Qualifications at level 2 which will be factored in in 2017), with the first performance tables under the new system brought into the new measures in January 2017. Students starting two year courses from September 2014 will therefore fall under the new system. The Department for Education (DfE) has said that it plans to share pilot results under the new accountability system with schools and colleges in summer 2015, based on 2014 exam results, but not to make these publicly available.

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Philip Nye is a former Auditor with the National Audit Office