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Wales to rethink secondary tables

PERFORMANCE tables showing individual schools' exam results may be abolished in Wales next year, according to Jane Davidson,the new Welsh minister for education and lifelong learning.

Ms Davidson said she would be consulting on the tables early in the New Year and expected changes to be in place in time for their publication next November.

"We now need to reflect on whether they are the most effective means of putting this information in the public domain, not least because they measure performance in terms of external exam results, and do not recognise year-on-year improvement in schools," she said.

Ms Davidson, who welcomed Wales's improved GCSE results, said she had an "open mind" about the changes. However, she was keen that the Welsh primary tables, which do not incude information about individual schools, instead focusing on local authority trends, should be considered as a model.

She said the tables were to help parents choose schools: "But part of the problem that we have to address in Wales is that there isn't any such option. The nearest other school can be 20 miles away."

An article by Professor David Reynolds of Exeter University, published today in the journal Welsh Agenda, says that in 1998-99 Wales spent 4.7 per cent less on each of its secondary pupils than England.

Professor Reynolds, working on figures from the Audit Commission, also shows that Wales spent 4.3 per cent less on early-years children, 3 per cent less on primary pupils and 7.1 per cent less on 16-plus pupils.

Welsh performance tables, 24-25

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