Councils are much of a muchness;Letter

24th December 1999 at 00:00
I WAS fascinated to read the article on the relationship between poverty and GCSE results (TES, December 3).

This is much better than using a simple results "league table" and appears to redress the balance by showing that authorities such as Tower Hamlets are achieving well if you take measures of deprivation into account.

However, Tower Hamlets is also one of the highest spending authorities in the country, which might account for its relative effectiveness.

A combined measure for free school meals and funding is actually able to account for about 10 per cent more of the variance in GCSE results and greatly reduces any apparent differences between education authorities.

Further analyses also indicates that authorities which delegate more of their budgets do not get improved results and that there are also positive (cultural?) effects associated with being part of London.

Rather than education authorities performing at different levels, it seems much more likely that they are all doing a reasonable job, given the constraints of funding, the nature of the population which they serve and current levels of government control.

Martyn Long

Educational psychologist

40 Lynn Road

Kings Lynn, Norfolk

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