A more suitable way to judge a school’s long term success?

Let’s start with the obvious question: how is a state school judged? There are two major methods:

1. An Ofsted inspection every few months or every few years dependent on the outcome of the school’s previous level of inspection, or

2. The school’s annual examination results which are organised into league tables and openly published to help parents, in advance, choose (if they have a choice) or move to a different area so their child can receive the best education available to them.

I am, of course, discounting private education from this discussion because parents with enough disposable income can choose to send their children to a wide range of private schools in the region, country or, indeed, the world.  What I am offering here is a potential solution that will not act to replace Ofsted or league tables, but act to supplement them and add another layer to the perceived success of a school.

Do you think it would be possible for an agency, or the school itself, to conduct a comprehensive investigation into what their past alumni, from individual schools, are currently achieving 3, 5, 10 and 20 years on from leaving compulsory education and, furthermore, how well the school prepared them for the real world?  These students could be asked about their career path and trajectory since leaving school or even the happiness of the family they have subsequently created and nurtured since leaving.  Even more importantly, they could be asked what would they change about their educational experience now they are (hopefully) contributing citizens; would they work harder? Were some parts of school unnecessary and not needed? Would they have preferred more flexibilty and autonomy in the subject choices and did they receive ample support in order to move onto the next phase of their life?

This is of course is an incomplete and partial argument.  Please forgive me as these thoughts have only just made themselves known to me and I thought I would scribble them down before they were flushed away to the gutter (perhaps where this idea belongs?).

Any thoughts, as ever, are welcome.


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