Be brave - abolish tables

23rd January 2004 at 00:00
I am always anxious when the Department for Education and Skills announces - as David Miliband did at the North of England Conference - that it wants to change the way councils support and challenge schools.

As usual it seems that education authorities won't get the chance to offer our experience on what works best. Much more promising was the talk about "intelligent accountability". I am pleased that the minister seems finally to have woken up to what so many of us have been saying for years - that raw exam rates need a context to make them relevant and useful to parents.

I particularly warm to the idea of including information such as data on pupils' attainment and progress which is set against benchmarks for schools in similar contexts. But so long as the minister continues with league tables, this sort of "intelligent" data will always be overshadowed by the headlines of success and failure.

You might be on to something good here, Mr Miliband, but only if you have the courage to do the intelligent thing and abolish school league tables first.

Cllr James Kempton

Lead Liberal Democrat member

Local Government Association

Education amp; lifelong learning executive

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