'Add graffiti' to league tables

20th February 1998 at 00:00
Graffiti and broken window panes could be counted up and included in new-style league tables giving parents a "rounder" picture of their local schools.

In today's TES, Margaret Hodge, chair of the Commons education select committee, says that school standards and the levels of vandalism can be linked.

"There is a case for much more information being added to the tables. Figures on teacher absenteeism, staff turnover, graffiti and parental participation would enhance the information available." she said.

"If there is graffiti all over the place it shows a lack of discipline and a tolerance of that behaviour," she said.

The MP said the league tables were one Conservative education reform which had proved a success, but they should be changed to ensure every child's performance is monitored and to reflect a school's ethos.

A points system, similar to the one used at A-level, could be used to grade each child's performance. This would prevent schools greatly improving their position in the tables by concentrating on children on the border between C and D grades in GCSE.

Schools should also record parents' involvement and the access they have to staff and the head. "It is better to have proper information rather than relying on playground gossip," she said.

The Government is consulting on ways to make the tables more value added, but says poverty and disadvantage should never be used as excuses by schools. "Children are entitled to expect to attain certain literacy and numeracy standards whatever their circumstances," said Ms Hodge.

Platform, page 19

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