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Stastical flaw

I am dismayed by the conclusions drawn from the GCSE performance tables regarding schools that have Assisted Places, (TES, November 22).

Your reporter has clearly failed to take on board that the Department for Education and Employment's method of measuring GCSE performance is seriously flawed. The figure of 56 per cent is quoted (for candidates achieving five GCSEs A to C) for Worksop College; in fact the figure for Year 11 at the college this summer was 75 per cent. Our policies of encouraging foreign pupils to spend a year longer studying GCSE, and enabling very bright pupils to take their GCSEs a year early mean that a considerable number of 15 to 16-year-olds at the college took no GCSEs this summer. This invalidates the DFEE's insistence on using statistics for the age group rather than the year group.

I am also concerned that your report assumes that the difference between schools can be judged by one bare statistic. Surely, you cannot be as naive as that.

ROY COLLARD Headmaster Worksop College Worksop Nottinghamshire

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