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Primary league tables to show points score

PRIMARY league tables are expected to include for the first time this year a point score for each school along with absence rates and special school results.

Consultation closes today on Government proposals to change the performance tables. Ministers want the raw results of the national curriculum tests in English, maths and science that 11-year-olds sat this week to be added together and divided by the number of pupils in the cohort to give an average score.

They will be published along with the percentage of children reaching Level 4 - the standard expected of children in that age group - when the tables are reported in December. An average point score will identify schools which perform well above the average.

Less able and special needs children who score below Level 4 - and therefore do not usually figure in the tables - will also count towards the point score. Pupils who are absent on the day or working towards the level below the test will receive 15 points (Level 2 equals 17 points).

Schools that have absent children lose out in the Level 4 percentage score because, although no result is recorded for those pupils, they are still included in the cohort number.

The importance of 100 per cent attendance during national tests week led one school to request that pupils turn up even f they are ill.

Parents complained this week that Oakfield Middle School, Lancing, West Sussex, wanted sick children to attend school and return home once the tests were completed. David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the Government should bite the bullet and remove absent children from the calculations altogether.

For the first time special school results will be published. Their results would be reported in a separate table from those for mainstream schools to ensure that readers are comparing like with like.

Absence rates will also be featured. Ministers say this will focus attention on the problem of unauthorised absence and the impact it can have on the overall aim of raising achievement.

Chris Davis, spokesman for the National Primary Heads Association, said:

"Teachers may welcome some of these moves but they are tinkering with a far from perfect table which should just be scrapped.

"Including absence figures could be misleading. Last year my school recorded a figure of 0.04 per cent, which was way higher than in previous years. In my report to parents I was able to explain the apparent increase was due solely to one family. That kind of detail is missing from tables."

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