League tables: a great idea. Er, only kidding

1st July 2011 at 01:00

Warwick Mansell's article has once and for all nailed the political delusion that league performance tables tell us anything objective or meaningful about comparative educational quality in our schools ("Other countries are proving that test-driven punishment and reward is not the right way to treat a school", 24 June).

If it weren't for the fact that league tables are misleadingly inaccurate, fail to measure what they purport to measure, pander to performative audit-culture values that inevitably distort the schooling system, are massively expensive to produce, collude with a narrowly mechanistic definition of educational experience, are driven by politicians' need for a spin-driven public relations cover story, and are conceived and designed to give privileged families the necessary information they need to avoid "lower-class" schools, they might conceivably be an effective instrument of public policy.

Dr Richard House, Research Centre for Therapeutic Education, Roehampton University.

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