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Small schools to join league

New value-added scores will introduce classes that were previously exempt to public scrutiny. Helen Ward reports

HUNDREDS of small primary schools which have escaped the league tables could be graded publicly for the first time under government proposals.

Value-added scores, which show the progress of pupils between the ages of seven and 11, will be published for the first time this year for all schools.

Schools with fewer than 11 pupils taking the tests do not have their results published. In Cumbria, for example, this applies to more than one in four schools.

Although schools with fewer than 11 pupils entering the tests will still not have the percentage of pupils achieving level 4 in English, maths and science published, their value-added score will be made public under proposals out for consultation this month.

Value-added scores are given as a mark around 100. Schools with scores of more than 100 have pupils who have done better than their key stage 1 results predicted, while a score below 100 means pupils have done less well.

Phil Williamson, head of the 61-pupil Wetwang C of E primary, near Driffield, Yorkshire, said: "Value-added is fine if children have been in the same school for four years but it is a rough and inaccurate measure if a child has not been with you for those years."

The value-added scheme was piloted in 495 schools last year. Other proposals include publishing the percentage of pupils reaching level 5 and separate reporting of pupils with statements of special needs and those with special needs who have no statement.

www.dfes.gov.ukconsultations

CALCULATING THE RESULT

A school's score is the average of its pupils' value-added scores.

Each pupil has a key stage 1 score - the average of their results in the reading, writing and maths tests. A similar score is calculated at key stage 2.

Using a table, the pupil's key stage 2 result is compared with the key stage 2 scores for all pupils with the same KS1 result. The difference between the pupil's and the national score is the value-added score.

Pupils' scores will be included as long as there is a test score available for at least one subject in both Year 2 and Year 6.

Scores will not be published if there are value-added scores for less than half of a school's Year 6 pupils.

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