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Woodhead investigates standards anomalies

The chief inspector, Chris Woodhead, has promised to investigate discrepancies between primary schools' performance in the recently-published tables and their inspection reports.

Mr Woodhead told a conference of the Essex Primary Headteachers' Association last week that he had "commissioned an inquiry to see which schools have a discrepancy between performance tables and Office for Standards in Education reports. Either OFSTED is rubbish or performance tables are rubbish".

The chief inspector agreed that OFSTED assessed schools in more depth and for a different purpose, but, he added: "I am worried if there appears to be a radical discrepancy I the principle of openness and accountability is right, but there is a need to use data that is robust and reliable."

Derek Dyer, head of Mildmay county junior in Chelmsford is puzzled. Mildmay's pupils scored very highly in the tests - averaging 80 per cent reaching level 4 or above in English, (24 per cent above the national average) 70 per cent in maths (17 per cent above) and 86 per cent in science (25 per cent above average). But OFSTED reports on a school that is just keeping up with the average, and lacks direction. The inspectors said: "Progress is hampered by a lack of clear understanding of the main aims and objectives of their science lessons".

"How do you equate that comment with a score of 86 per cent for science?" asks Mr Dyer.

Talkback, TES2 page 2

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