Cityvisitor blog

It’s school league table time

The new school league tables have just been published, but are they a good or bad thing?

Of course it’s important to keep track of how well schools are teaching our children, but are they being analysed too much?

For example, one of the main measures of a primary school is the SATs tests. Most teachers don’t like them, children hate them and parents stress about them. I know for a fact that most of year 6 in primary school (the last year) is dedicated to gearing children up for taking these tests. Is that the best use of their last year of primary education? We all have to learn to take exams, but I’m not sure this is necessary at the age of 10.

The secondary schools are measured by their GCSE results and there are lots of reasons why this can be misleading.

Some areas may be dominated by children with a lower academic ability or starting point. They might make huge achievements at their local school, but the overall exam results are still lower than a school in a more affluent area, whose pupils may, for whatever reason, be more academic. This doesn’t mean the school is failing, just that it is working with different abilities.

Then, if a school is low down in the tables, parents do their best not to send their children there, even moving house to get them into a better school across town. This leaves the school with even less variety of pupils, less funding etc, which brings it down even further.

When I was young, we just attended our local school, with a mix of bright pupils, less academic pupils, affluent and less affluent children. As a result, there was no such thing as a good school or a bad school (maybe just the odd good or bad teacher!)


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