Standards not highest in OFSTED's star schools;Letter

23rd May 1997 at 01:00
Maureen Mather's criticism that we "add little to the debate by trying to marry two separate tools for bringing about improvements in our schools which, although they overlap, serve very distinct purposes" (TES, May 2) is profoundly mistaken.

The issue is that of the many direct contradictions between the products of two separate tools for measuring the same thing: namely pupils' achievement levels at key stage 2 in English, maths and science as measured by the national tests on the one hand and by Office for Standards in Education inspections on the other.

For those who regard the national tests as fairly reliable measures of pupils' achievement levels, we fear this entails the partial unreliability of many thousands if not the majority of primary inspection reports in respect of their assessments of pupils' achievement levels.

We also pointed out the apparent anomaly and injustice of pupils in many allegedly "failing" schools achieving higher standards in literacy and numeracy than those in some "OFSTED Oscar"-winning schools.

For example, Garston Primary in Liverpool with a joint average of 55 per cent in English and Maths compared with the 48 per cent of Bethune Park, which was praised by OFSTED.

CHARLES BELL Article 26 BM Bell London WC1N 3XX

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