SCHOOLS which take in refugees and asylum-seekers could see a dramatic improvement in their ranking in this autumn's league tables.
The Government's decision to remove from the tables the results of children who have been in English schools for less than two years is also likely to mean inner- London boroughs - Hackney in particular - will no longer be among the worst three or four councils in the country.
Colin Alston, Hackney's head of statistics, predicts that the English and maths scores of 11-year-olds will improve by between two and three percentage points. Hammersmith and Fulham expects a slightly smaller change of 1.5 to 2.5 per cent. Data in other areas is still being collected.
"The Government has not tackled all the problems of recording the results of children who have not been in school for very long, but this change will be a lot fairer to schools that are taking in children from all over the world," says Mr Alston.
In some schools, the removal of newly-arrived children from results will improve results by eight or nine percentage points. The Fulham prmary school in Hammersmith was pilloried last year for being among the 20 lowest-scoring primaries in London.
This year, its results will be adjusted to take account of five children who have been in England for less than two years - two from Somalia, others from Poland, Morocco and Syria.
The school's test scores will go up from 41 per cent in English to 48; from 50 per cent in maths to 59 and from 63 in science to 74.
"We take children from bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Some are from war zones where they have not been able to get to school. They are very keen on education and come to the homework clubs, but they do need time," says the head, Carol Tomkins.
At Northwold primary in Hackney, results in maths and English will go up by six percentage points. The results of four children who have arrived from Turkey, India and Nigeria will be taken out of the count.
"The Government has finally recognised that we have children coming into school who do not speak English and have had no previous education," says the head, Graham McGlasson-West. "It also means we can set realistic targets. You can't set targets for children who are not yet in the school."
Baseline tests, 23