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Welsh could scrap tables

Wales is to consider radical changes to the present system of compiling and publishing school league tables.

Changes previewed originally last November by Welsh education minister Jane Davidson are to be put out for consultation later this month.

The proposals are yet to be finalised, but it is understood that there will be two preferred options.

The first is to scrap the current arrangements. Instead, parents will visit or contact their local schools to get the results. This model is similar to one already adopted for primaries and is believed to be working well. Schools would be able to put their results into context and provide parents directly with a more rounded picture of the school.

The second option, preferred by the minister, would address criticisms levelled at existing league tables. It proposes a value-added indicator to be added to the tables showing how schools have progressed and how they compare with the average for Wales.

The Welsh Assembly is planning an ambitious programme of consultation whichwill include unions, directors of education, the parents and grandparents of schoolchildren, the general public and a number of focus groups, as well as an Internet website currently under construction. When completed, it will be found at: www.wales.gov.ukhaveyoursay and www.cymru.gov.uklleisiadyfarn.

* Sandfields comprehensive, Port Talbot, is the most improved school in Wales, according to the principality's Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

Sandfield has continued to improve GCSEresults. Over the past three years the school has gone from regional winner in south-west Wales to national runner-up and this year to national winner.

A neighbouring school at Port Talbot, Cymer Afan comprehensive, is this year's national runner-up.

The four other regional winners are: John Summers high, Deeside, Flintshire (north Wales); Ysgol Dewi Sant, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire (mid and west Wales); Corpus Christi RC high, Cardiff (south Wales); and Trevethin community school, Pontypool (south Wales).

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