Estelle bends it like Beckham

Estelle Morris has found a killer riposte to those who whine about the damaging effects of league tables.

Speaking to the Melbourne Age newspaper in Australia, the Education Secretary suggested schools should learn to think like footballers. "We're quite strange in the UK," said the Birmingham City fan. "We don't mind football teams competing and there being a league table and the winner getting a cup and the loser feeling sad, but the minute we're as open about academic performance between schools we somehow get more resistant." And there we all were worrying that schools should not just be judged by league position!

Now that we know education is a game with "winners" and "losers", we suggest the introduction of a knock-out competition like the FA Cup. School teams go head-to-head in high-stakes literacy and numeracy tests. Loser schools get relegated to the special measures division. Managers would of course be allowed to use Standards Fund cash to pay transfer fees for the best students.

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