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Apology to Oscar-winner over wrong percentage

I wish to apologise to Maureen Mather for an error in my statement of "OFSTED Oscar"-winning Bethune Park's 1996 national test results in our letter (TES, May 23). Their joint average in English and maths was in fact 51 per cent and not 48 per cent as we stated.

But this does not affect our points about the paradox and injustice of an Office for Standards in Education failing school in Liverpool scoring higher at 54 per cent, that it was also below the national average of 56 per cent, and that these are surely not high standards of achievement in literacy and numeracy as claimed for "Oscar" schools by HMCI in his annual report, whatever success they may represent for their specific pupils' capabilities.

I also wish to make it clear that we have never made any criticism of the value of the school's achievements with particularly disadvantaged and hearing-impaired children, and to express our regret for any distress caused by the form in which our citation of the school was reported. Our criticism was only of OFSTED. Whatever miracles the achievement of almost national average standards may represent for some pupils, the fact remains that high value-added achievement should not be confused with high "raw" achievement. If "OFSTED Oscars" are awarded on a value-added basis rather than on a "raw" achievement basis, then this must be made clear to avoid such confusion and a potential lowering of expectations.

CHARLES BELL, Article 26, BM Bell, London WC1

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