This page is archived

Links to external sources may no longer work as intended. The content may not represent the latest thinking in this area or the Society’s current position on the topic.

Being accountable to peers, parents and pupils

The Royal Society has identified ‘school accountability’ as an issue that warrants fresh examination, so that accountability processes can become a positive force for improvement and innovation.

Accountability is a complex topic within the school landscape and can mean many things to different stakeholders depending on their own responsibilities. In general, accountability is when schools and colleges, Senior Leadership Teams and teachers account for, take responsibility for and report transparently on their work. Schools are accountable to Ofsted but can also be accountable through other channels:

  • self-evaluation within schools, with tools to assist self-evaluation amongst staff

  • school evaluations involving stakeholders: parents, pupils, governors, local government, local industry, local academics

  • sharing of expertise, resources and innovative classroom practice between subject teachers in different schools and colleges

  • teacher development networks and professional learning communities

  • teacher-led assessments, reporting on the ‘value added’ for pupils between the start and conclusion of their studies

To celebrate teachers and schools that already take action to give account more broadly, and to inspire other schools to do so as well, the Society will select and showcase several examples in ‘What works? Being accountable to peers, parents & pupils’.

Terms of reference

The aim of the ‘Being accountable to peers, parents and pupils’ project is to:

Investigate examples that can be inspirational to others, where schools, colleges and teachers give account to their peers and the community, with a particular focus on STEM-specific examples. Highlight how these were achieved in practise and how they can be implemented elsewhere.

Who will inform this project?


This project is informed by a series of consultations, involving a range of stakeholders across the education landscape. Case studies are established through collaboration with schools, colleges and teachers who give account to peers, parents and pupils in various ways.

The Society is currently still in the process of collecting inspiring examples, if you feel you can contribute, please submit your example here.

What will come out of the project?

The project will report in winter 2018, with the ‘What works? Being accountable to peers, parents and pupils’ report with inspirational examples for schools and teachers.