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Free meal analysis leaves sour taste;Letter

I WRITE with some degree of anger and frustration at your analysis of test results against indicators of poverty as shown by free school meal percentages (TES, October 15).

While supporting any analysis of raw data which attempts to contexualise it and demonstrate more accurately the performance of schools, I must take issue with the incorrect interpretation that Wigan schools are performing below average. In particular, you indicated that Wigan performs well in relation to free school meals, being placed 34th in your rank ordering of 1999 key stage 2 results and also above the line for KS 3. These results are highly creditable, demonstrating our commitment to raising of standards.

I was more staggered to note that Wigan's results were bracketed with those of three unitary authorities whose performance at key stage 2, relative to free school meals, placed them in the bottom 25 authorities. This certainly does not represent a consistent interpretation and will do nothing for the morale of Wigan's teachers.

John Cowen

Assistant director of education

Wigan LEA

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