Data, statistics and Lambeth

30th May 2003 at 01:00
I AM concerned at the way in which five London boroughs, including Lambeth, were portrayed at the launch of the London Challenge. Let me set the record straight. In Lambeth we have made real progress as indicated in the Department for Education and Skills' own statistics in the Challenge document.

In terms of at least five A* to C GCSEs, Lambeth improved from 28.6 per cent in 1997 to 40.1 per in 2002. This is higher than other boroughs which were not "named" by the Government.

Lambeth also scores very well in the value added statistics quoted, gaining 100.9. The average for inner London is 100.7, outer London 99.6 and England only 98.6.

I would therefore have expected Lambeth's achievements to be highlighted and encouragement given to go on raising standards. Instead the brief positive reference to Lambeth appears only on page 22 of the full document and is not referred to at all in the press release. This is completely unfair.

The statistics produced on staff retention are equally misleading; Lambeth primary school staff turnover is quoted at 13 per cent and secondary at 12 per cent. To put these figures in context: London retention figures are 19 per cent overall, and the national figure is 13 per cent.

Lambeth is an exciting place to work. We have a strengthened education department, a large number of heavily oversubscribed schools and hundreds of committed staff. We are proud of our achievements and determined to go on raising standards.

If data is to be used to make points about education, fine, but do so accurately and give praise where it is due.

J Cruse Head, Charles Edward Brooke school Lambeth

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