No tea party

30th June 2000 at 01:00
School league tables are not a new idea, reports John Nisbet, emeritus professor of education at Aberdeen. They were tried in Boston in 1845, only to be abolished two years later as "a waste of time".

The Boston authorities concluded: "We do not recommend the table of rank . . .

as affording a precise estimate of the merits of the schools. Even if it were a perfect demonstration, still we would not have it onsidered as an absolute test of the merits of the schools. Let us look to the cultivation of religious sense, the supremacy of conscience, the duty of self-culture, the love of knowledge, the respect for order . . . before we say which school is first or last."

Writing in the newsletter of the British Educational Research Association, Nisbet commends such "sense".

Whatever can he be suggesting?

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today