School leaders have urged the Government to abolish national league tables if new scorecards showing the performance of every primary and secondary are introduced. The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) also thinks plans for the card's design should be undertaken by experts, not government officials. In its submission to the consultation on the cards, the ASCL said they should not have an "overall grade" for the school and only one set of data should be used to conclude on subjective matters such as wellbeing. The heads' union also said it was important for the "structure and balance" of the data to be stable, and not change according to government policy. The deadline for submission to the consultation ended this week.
Decline in services
Children's services deteriorated last year and remain the worst- performing area of councils' work, an independent assessment found. Some 22 town halls saw their star ratings for children and young people's services decline in 2008, the Audit Commission found in its annual Comprehensive Performance Assessments. Only 13 improved. Two councils, Surrey and Haringey - which became embroiled in the Baby P scandal in November - dropped two bands, from three stars to one. Doncaster and Milton Keynes also scored only one star for children's services, which was the only area of work in which more councils declined than improved. The number of councils achieving the maximum four stars fell overall, from 12 in 2007 to nine in 2008, the lowest proportion for all services. Those with four stars were Camden, Corporation of London, Gateshead, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Richmond, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and York.
Medicine comes alive
Medicine will be brought to life for GCSE history pupils on a new website that allows access to rare artefacts. Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine contains details of 2,500 significant objects from medical history. It will be suitable for GCSE and undergraduate students. It is supported by the Wellcome Trust, which owns many of the objects - currently on show at the Science Museum in London. They include Renaissance treasures such as rare anatomical models and books, early surgical instruments, leech jars, artificial limbs and iron lungs.