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No tea party

School league tables are not a new idea, reports John Nisbet, emeritus professor of education at Aberdeen. They were tried in Boston in 1845, only to be abolished two years later as "a waste of time".

The Boston authorities concluded: "We do not recommend the table of rank . . .

as affording a precise estimate of the merits of the schools. Even if it were a perfect demonstration, still we would not have it onsidered as an absolute test of the merits of the schools. Let us look to the cultivation of religious sense, the supremacy of conscience, the duty of self-culture, the love of knowledge, the respect for order . . . before we say which school is first or last."

Writing in the newsletter of the British Educational Research Association, Nisbet commends such "sense".

Whatever can he be suggesting?

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