Performance Indicators: Flourish or Perish?
Interest in performance indicators, and optimism about their potential, probably reached a peak amongst English LEAs in the late eighties. In the wake of the Education Reform Act the case for their introduction was made in several influential reports including one by a prestigious accountancy firm which had been asked to explore the local management of schools (Coopers and Lybrand, 1988) and another by the Audit Commission, the local authority 'watch-dog' (Audit Commission, 1989). Performance indicators would become, it was argued, one of the key mechanisms through which the monitoring and accountability of schools would be assured. The time seemed particularly propitious for their development and imaginative use within the school system.