Monday, 30 September 2013

We've had enough of League Tables

This is the text of a letter I want to send to my local newspaper.  I don't know if the Governors will support it but I would like to ask them to:

Over the last two years we have changed our curriculum in Years 10 and 11 to allow students to take their Maths and English GCSE exams at the end of Year 10 and then again at the end of Year 11.  We chose to do this because giving students two opportunities at these important qualifications gives them the best chance of achieving the best grade they can.  Those students who do very well at the end of Year 10 can progress on to more advanced courses such as GCSE statistics or even begin their A-Level courses in Year 11.  Our plans are about raising attainment and increasing progression.

However the government has announced that this is 'cheating' and has made it almost impossible for a school to follow this curriculum without being badly affected in the school league tables.  They have decided that only the first attempt at any exam will be published in the tables.  This means that we could see 70% of our students leaving with higher passes at the end of Year 11 but only 40% being counted in the league tables.

We have been placed in the impossible position of doing what we believe is right for our students or doing what is right for the league tables.  It is wrong for a school to prioritise a league table position at the expense of student achievement.  So from this point on we will do what is right for our students and ignore the school league tables.

We realise that this will mean that the school will fall down the league tables and may come under pressure from the DfE, Norfolk County Council and Ofsted to change this policy.  We also know that parents would want us to do the right thing for their children.

Schools have been pushed about by the government's use of league tables for too long and it is time to say, "enough is enough".  Education is far too important to worry about where you are in a made-up league table which no longer reflects what students actually achieve in schools.

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