Angry unions give their reaction to school league tables

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Teaching unions have accused the government of naming and shaming failing schools instead of helping them after the publication of the 2011 Schools Performance Tables today.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “League tables do not give a genuine reflection of the achievements of head teachers, teachers or pupils. What they do show is that league tables, by their very nature, will always put some schools at the top and some at the bottom.

“The NUT has long highlighted the problem of some schools focusing on the results of borderline C-grade children, but the new system will simply swap one crude measure for another.

“Although the government claims the new information about GCSE results will measure progress for children from the highest to the lowest attaining, the league table system is still flawed and will still create a situation in which schools are concentrating on results rather than on providing the broad and balanced education to which every child is entitled.

“The social inequalities with which children start school, widens as they progress through their education. Instead of focusing on changing school structures and on the pointless naming and shaming of schools, the government should be ensuring that all schools have the resources and support they need for all pupils to reach their full potential. This is a matter of social justice and equity.”

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “Predictably the publication of the tables has provided yet another opportunity for another round of teacher bashing by the government. Educational standards have been rising consistently for over a decade.

“Everyone recognises that there is more to be done to achieve the best for every child. Schools and staff need support and resources, not constant denigration, to do this.

“Performance tables do not help to raise standards. If there is, as the government claims ‘gaming’ in the system, where pupils are pushed towards certain subjects, then it is the league tables in a high stakes accountability system which drives this.

“The Minister has displayed his irritation with ‘gaming’ and has identified that league tables drive this, so how will creating more league tables solve the problem?”

ATL education policy advisor Adrian Prandle said: “Children’s education would improve far more if the government concentrated on supporting schools which need extra help instead of naming and shaming them. Creating such high stakes league tables is not in the best interests of all pupils.

“Today’s secondary league tables highlight what we already know, that schools in deprived areas face tough challenges.  These schools need to be given the flexibility to tailor the curriculum so that they can inspire those children who struggle to learn.  They do not need politicians pushing a restrictive curriculum and making teaching to the test inevitable.

“We fully support parents having information about their local schools, but they will be no better off if there is too much data for them to sift through.”


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