Now all we need to do is stay above average

17th June 2011 at 01:00

I have recently read in The TES that "league tables are to ignore race and poverty" (3 June) and that "schools with below-average test results will be failed, unless they can show they are closing the gap" (10 June). If accurate, this is the reintroduction of an English beauty parade that will confirm the social advantage enjoyed by entrants.

Seemingly, the new Ofsted regime will reinforce this pageant and will "cane" our dedicated, industrious colleagues in deprived areas. Their efforts and energy do not solely concentrate on attainment, but extend to addressing disproportionate levels of special educational needs, or social and emotional issues within demanding communities.

A mandatory requirement - that the attainment gap between schools in disadvantaged areas and those in more favourable environments should narrow - perhaps fails to recognise that a pupil with SEN or delayed development may not progress at the average rate dictated by the state.

This also underlines a truth within our society: the margin between poverty and affluence appears to be widening.

Richard Lee, Headteacher, Moorhouse Primary School, Rochdale.

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