A finding of the government’s ‘Workload Challenge’ was that sudden changes to curriculum and performance measures caused undue stress and workload.
In response, the government today published a shiny new ‘Protocol for changes to accountability, curriculum and qualifications‘.
It says that from now on new qualification and curriculum changes should:
– be introduced at the start of an academic year
– have at least one year of lead-in time
– not affect students already in the middle of their course (for example, in the way the early entry changes did)
– avoid changes during a pupils’ key stage – so, changes to KS3 would need to begin with year 7s and work their way through
Additionally, Ofsted should not change their framework mid-year and there should be consideration for ‘workload’ before any policies are introduced.
But there is a caveat:
“This protocol may be subject to an override where a change is urgently required”
In these cases, reasons for the override will be communicated to the public. Lucky us.
So what does it all mean?
On the optimistic hand, it signals that the government is listening to teacher concerns and will slow down the pace of reform in the future.
On the cynical hand, it is a thorn in the side of any future government wishing to change qualifications back to a prior situation (here’s looking at you Tristram Hunt and your promise to reintroduce AS levels).
In reality, it doesn’t mean much at all. Any politician who wants to make change is likely to push the override button. A statement in Parliament about your reasons seems like a very small price to pay.