I do not share the idea which seemed to be behind some of your report on the Audit Commission's tables. Many parents, teachers and governors are very keen to have comparative information. It is recognised that we have a problem of low expectations of pupils in our education system - I believe that sometimes extends to parents.
It is not easy for even the most activist of parents to find out how their local education authority's provision compares to that of their neighbours. For example many parents of children with special needs have been fobbed off for years, only realising the huge disparities in provision across the country when brought together by campaign groups.
Over the recent years many parents have asked for photocopied lists of class-size figures which the Campaign for State Education has culled from existing "available" figures. Often they find out that however bad things are locally - they could be worse elsewhere. Finding out how one area compares leads to a greater awareness of the need for national standards so that every child is entitled to a basic provision regardless of where they live.
Informed pressure is hard to rubbish, as has been so clearly demonstrated recently by governors protesting about funding. Yes there is room for a great deal of improvement in the figures - particularly those for nursery provision - but we should not dismiss them. Education is everybody's business and the more informed and involved we all are the more society as a whole will value it.
Campaign for State Education
158 Durham Road