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Spectre of accountability needs its own ‘red letter’

The government needs to take a long hard look at the pernicious impact of its own league tables, writes Tes' Data Doctor

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Just after school drop-off time there is a knock at the head’s door. A teacher enters clutching a piece of paper. “I think you need to see what was pinned to the school gate,” she says.

It is a print out from the “find and compare schools” section of the DfE website, showing the school’s latest KS2 results alongside those of other local schools. This school’s results are the lowest in the group. For good measure, the mysterious source has also circled the highest-performing school and added “WELL DONE” in red pen.

I was shocked when the head in question told me this story. It transpired that ...

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