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Value added was not new in 1985

I am struck by the coincidence that on the day when league tables for primary schools are published, I should find myself reading a Department for Education and Science publication, Education Observed 3: Good Teachers, as part of an Open University study module.

All those schools licking their wounds this week whose pupils did not achieve 100 per cent at level 4 and above in end of key stage tests can find solace in the knowledge that as long ago as 1985 the importance of earlier achievements and background were recognised as factors to consider when making judgments about schools and their teachers.

I quote: "Modest academic performance may represent, for some pupils, a significant learning gain in relation to earlier achievements or to a background of disadvantage or deprivation. Each individual pupil's achievement at the end of a phase of schooling has to be judged in the light of his ability and his performance on entering the phase."

Is it conceivable that the same party that in 1997 resolutely refuses to acknowledge the importance of "value added" when reporting pupils' achievements was in administration when this report was commissioned 12 years ago?

N MIDDLETON

208 Oval Road North Dagenham, Essex

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