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League tables hinder education

PUBLISHED: 11:30 26 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:46 06 July 2010

RACHEL Moore's latest foray into the world of education illustrates her lack of understanding of the real world in which teachers live.

The son of a middle class family in a small country school can hardly be used as reliable criteria by which to judge the validity of SATS.

RACHEL Moore's latest foray into the world of education illustrates her lack of understanding of the real world in which teachers live.

The son of a middle class family in a small country school can hardly be used as reliable criteria by which to judge the validity of SATS.

I know of many children, especially those from large urban schools, who are not only stressed but are put off attending school by the pressure both many teachers and parents place on SATS results.

A major cause of much of this stress is the placing of schools in league tables which take no account of the most important method of judging the effectiveness of a school - what progress did the children make during their stay there?

Depending on the levels of attainment when children join a school it is possible for a school, in which children have made three years progress, to gain a higher league placing than one in which the children have advanced by over four years. This gross misrepresentation that league tables represent leads to undue pressure being put on getting as many children as possible to level four in just two subjects on the national curriculum.

This can, and to my certain knowledge, does, in some schools, lead to over emphasis on children who can possibly achieve level four and less on the brighter and less able children.

It can also lead to extra time being spent on going through past papers to the detriment of a balanced curriculum.

In the schools I have worked in, and the many I have conducted research in, I have encountered very few that disagree with sensible testing.

Before SATS many schools used the more rigorous and reliable NFER tests.

All the politicians had to do was make them compulsory for all schools. As parents could obtain the results for their own children there was no need for misleading league tables. These practices existed when our schools were the envy of the world.

DAVID BATLEY

Jubilee Road

Pakefield

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