Tables keep us misinformed

17th February 2006 at 00:00
When challenged about league tables the Government always says it is committed to providing public information for accountability. But the tables constitute misinformation, especially when published under the blatant lie, "500 top schools" as occurs in The Times each year.

If league tables are to be kept, perhaps the TES can take a lead by ensuring they are fairer. In particular the tables should level the playing field between comprehensives and grammars by requiring comprehensives to provide results only for their most able 25 per cent of candidates.

Such tables will reveal the fact confirmed by copious research that able pupils do equally well in grammar and comprehensives. It will also reveal that most of the "top schools" are comprehensive.

Secondary moderns (which include so called "comprehensive" schools in areas where there are grammar schools) will not be expected to submit results - unless they choose to do so.

Mark Hewlett

Director, Centre for the Study of Comprehensive Schools University of Leicester Moulton College, Moulton Northampton

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