BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say
« Previous | Main | Next »

Do school league tables improve standards?

12:04 UK time, Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Researchers at Bristol University compared schools in England and Wales before and after Wales abolished league tables in 2001. They say following the abolition Welsh schools are less "effective", with an average student in England outperforming an average pupil in Wales by two GCSE grades.

Welsh education is a devolved issue and the Welsh Assembly Government has defended its decision to abolish the tables, maintaining its young people's level of attainment continued to rise "year on year".

Does the public naming and shaming of school results lead to better schools? Are there more effective ways than league tables to present school results? What is the best way to maintain educational standards?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    best way to maintain educational standards?

    set pass rate minimum limit the more you fail the limit the less funding you shall be given?
    thank should keep them motivated.

    i also think there are much bigger issues for the educational system than debating wether or not we should have league tables

  • Comment number 2.

    That's what Wales gets for joining the EU! Less effective schools.

    Should have thought about that before the EU gave rights to children to not learn. The league tables are just a sad indictment on the times we live in.

  • Comment number 3.

    No they just encourage innovative ways to circumvent low marks and / or plausible excuses and blame as to why any organisation maybe low on the list. Lets face it in any league table someone must be top and someone bottom. The measurable distance between is of no interest to most folk.

  • Comment number 4.

    I forgot to add - who is paying for these researchers to research? Is it the taxpayer at the behest of the European super state? Next thing they'll be talking about joining school systems in england and france together. It's political correctness gone mad.

  • Comment number 5.

    Not always. But it does give an idea of where you stand.

    All schools should always look to improve regardless how well students do. 'Things can always get better', yes? Education, education, education. :p

    Education shold strive to help people of all backgrounds and abilities and not be elitist and profit-seeking like the corrupt American 'ivy league' universities.

  • Comment number 6.

    Do school league tables improve standards?

    Absolutely.

    Everybody knows, thanks to our last government, that performance targets never, ever lead to organisations diverting resources from other areas in order to meet their targets.

    Just look at the super efficient running of the NHS or police services since the introduction of target based assesments.

    Its the same in education - schools absolutely never ever substitute understanding of a subject for instilling a parrot like ability to repeat the right answers to familiar questions....

  • Comment number 7.

    No, quite simply they drag every pupil down to the lowest common denominator. We need to scrap this idea of prozes for everyone, exams for everyone, university places for everyone etc. and accept that some kids are better academically than others and they do not deserve to be held back by this politically correct obsession with not allowing anyone to fail.

  • Comment number 8.

    The Welsh were right to scrap them. Devolved Government is a wonderful thing.

  • Comment number 9.

    2. At 12:54pm on 02 Nov 2010, quake wrote:
    That's what Wales gets for joining the EU! Less effective schools.

    Should have thought about that before the EU gave rights to children to not learn. The league tables are just a sad indictment on the times we live in.

    ---------------------------------------

    Did you not read the article? The Welsh Assembly decided not to have league tables. Nothing to do with the EU in the slightest.

    It would appear that league tables do help increase how effect schools are, but does that mean that schools provide a better education or that they simply don't enter students into exams they don't think will get a good grade?

  • Comment number 10.

    As exam pass rates have been increasing year-on-year for several years now it clear for all to see that children in the UK have become much more intelligent in just a few short years, and I'm sure school league tables have helped drive educational standards higher and higher !

    Or, have I got that wrong ?

  • Comment number 11.

    Do school league tables improve standards?

    No. Standards in eduction have been falling for decades. It's only exam pass rates that have been improving.

  • Comment number 12.

    4. At 12:57pm on 02 Nov 2010, quake wrote:
    I forgot to add - who is paying for these researchers to research? Is it the taxpayer at the behest of the European super state? Next thing they'll be talking about joining school systems in england and france together. It's political correctness gone mad.

    ------------------------------

    That wouldn't be a bad thing in my mind, the tertiary education system is France is excellent compared to the UK. However the British University education is much better by comparison. Would be good to take the best bits of France's education system and apply it here.

  • Comment number 13.

    Umm. This is from the BBC article:

    "The result, according to the research, is that an average student in England will outperform an average student in Wales by two GCSE grades...
    "We find systematic, significant and robust evidence that abolishing school league tables markedly reduced school effectiveness in Wales.
    "The impact is sizeable: a fall of 1.92 GCSE grades per student per year"."

    Without the detail from the report it's hard to be sure, but aren't we being told that before the change there was a 0.08 GCSE grade gap and now there is a 2 GCSE gap?

    Surely current outperformance (by 2 GCSEs) doesn't necessarily mean a fall of 1.92 GCSEs unless performance was close to identical before (and I don't think it was, but might be wrong).

    Can someone at the BBC review this article and maybe provide a link to the report? I have doubts about the accuracy of one or the other, and possibly both.

    And this is before you get into the correlation/ causation problem (league tables) this article implies...

  • Comment number 14.

    Has the impact of the Welsh Language Act been taken into consideration in this analysis? The fact that children in Wales are taught everything through the medium of Welsh must have had some impact on exam results? Could this account for the two point difference? Maybe abolishion of league tables has nothing whatsover to do with this.

    Not saying it is a factor but it should certainly be investigated.

  • Comment number 15.

    Why is the BBC once again asking for opinion on a subject which has evidence to prove the facts one way or the other.

    Do school league tables improve standards? They say following the abolition Welsh schools are less "effective", with an average student in England outperforming an average pupil in Wales by two GCSE grades.

    So the answer is simple, yes, they do improve standards.

  • Comment number 16.

    11. At 1:18pm on 02 Nov 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    Do school league tables improve standards?

    No. Standards in eduction have been falling for decades. It's only exam pass rates that have been improving.

    ------------------------------

    And how do you calculate the standards in education that allow you to make this statement?

  • Comment number 17.

    "7. At 1:07pm on 02 Nov 2010, TheSkyisBlue wrote:
    No, quite simply they drag every pupil down to the lowest common denominator. We need to scrap this idea of prozes for everyone, exams for everyone, university places for everyone etc. and accept that some kids are better academically than others and they do not deserve to be held back by this politically correct obsession with not allowing anyone to fail."

    Pfft. Pupils in Wales still do exams, you know. Just because the results are not published in the same way they are in England does not mean the data is not collected and used.

    As I've said in my previous post here, without the report it is impossible to understand what the findings really are and how they were reached. The BBC article is confusing at best, as are the quotes from the report authors...

  • Comment number 18.

    what they should publish are the schools which
    gives student large amounts of homework
    as this credit should go on the student report
    not a lazy school/teacher

  • Comment number 19.

    The standards are being 'improved' by making the goalposts wider and wider. A good chunk of kids these days get really good A level results. But when they hit the workplace they are no different than the kids of 20 years ago. I watched 1984 the other week, the film is full of statistics quoted by Big Brother about how good things are getting. Orwell was a prophetic genius; its *exactly* what NuLiebour did and he saw it all 50 years ago.

  • Comment number 20.

    There are no school league tables in Finland, which consistently outperforms in the PISA tests. Maybe we should take them on. Perhaps we could reach higher than top place. The whole thing seems to be nonsense. A league table, as such, proves very little, except that they may indicate a teaching to the test, rather than educating the child in the fullest sense.

  • Comment number 21.

    Ah HA! Do league tables help, simple answer no, reason a league table only shows who is top and bottom at a given time. Next time it is taken the good teachers at the top school may have gone to another school who are paying more money. So I see the problem of tables as the kids are only as good as the teaching they receive, and also the teaching is only as good as the ability of the kids in the class.
    Now as I understand, exams are now so dumb downed and the kids are given multiple choice right answers I would be inclined to go back to basic teaching and banded classes. That way the good kids would excel and the rest would play catchup, as has always be the case irrespective of political views.
    A small ps to No 6. Targets of Police forces and the NHS. The Police are run by paperwork and the NHS is run just like the old Utility Companies, ie 4 people to do get one job done.

  • Comment number 22.

    No. I spent years in Industry with imposed targets and what always happens is that the main improvement is that people get very good at showing paper improvements and ticking targets but that is where the energy goes. I have seen departments with 50% targets improvement and 20% less profitable activity.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think this article is misleading. Without the report one cannot say how the conclusions where arrived at nor can one say how the researchers screened out all other variables to be sure that the only difference is league table publication. This could simply be a case of correlation rather than causality. I am also interested in how the figure of 1.92 GCSE grades was arrived at. Grades run A to F and a mean value of these discrete data is 'meaningless'. Did the researchers give numerical grades, e.g. 6 for A through to 1 for E? What about A*? If they gave a 1 to 6 grading them they are saying that a grade A (6 points) to twice as good as a grade D (3 points) this again makes no sense in terms of discrete data. if this is the case them I would argue against Prof Reynolds when he says that it would be hard to fault the research.
    Gren Ireson

  • Comment number 24.

    Nt really. It's all about teaching.

  • Comment number 25.

    Education in this country is a disgrace and the sooner we get the educationalists out of it, the better!
    For too long education has followed the road of intellectualised clap-trap where buzz words like diversity, self-worth, comprehensive have run roughshod over content.
    GCSE maths is a disgrace. English is barely better.

    We need to pay far more atention to the needs of business than to educationalists. What is the value of a GCSE at D or below (or how bad do you have to be)? I interviewed for a PA recently and she claimed to have 6 GCSEs. She hadn't stated her grades, but on enquiring, I was gobsmacked to learn that 4 of the 6 were below C. Qualification indeed. Was she pround of her achievment, did it demonstrate a level of intellectual ability? No, but I'm sure that she stands a chance of getting a job if a prospective employer fails to ask her grades - what's right or wrong then?

  • Comment number 26.

    Academic achievement starts with good parents, good teachers and a strong, emotionally healthy, academically succesful, school ethos. One where excellence is considered to be the norm. This should include high standards and training in values too Supporting children academically is key. This support should be standard operating procedure up to 10-12 years old and beyond if needed. After leaving their blissfull and happy,small elementary school children are sudddenly thrust into the larger, meaner halls of middle shool where they are socially obstracized and mercillessly bullied. Attention to the social environment of middle schools is extremely important so that children aren't lost to the system at this stage. If a parent does everything possible to raise an intelligent, socially accepted, well rounded child before age 10-11. They'll have a much easier time with the second half of their child's academic and social life. As a society, we need to be "All Hands on Deck"
    until children reach the critical age of 15-16. After that, if you've done your job correctly you'll receive huge, positive dividends and know that you've helped raise a good citizen for the world.

  • Comment number 27.

    As a former resident of Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent, and now residing in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, I have a few observations.
    The schools in Kent did a very good job of massaging their positions in the league tables, by selecting only the most able pupils, and rejecting the rest. This process begins at a very early age; one primary school boasted a 100% pass rate for the 11+ (yes, they still have grammar schools in Kent) but failed to mention that they only put their best, most able pupils up for the exam. The result is a constant rush & competition for places among parents, some of whom resort to lying about where they live in order to secure a place for their child.
    So, while it's entirely possible to observe that Welsh schools are performing less well than their English counterparts, it may be because in Wales the figures and pupil entry are not being massaged in the same way they certainly are in Kent. In other words, there is a greater percentage of pupils in any given school that, shall we say, are not the most bright, or able, in an academic sense. Of course, their abilities & talents may lie elswhere, which is another area altogether.

  • Comment number 28.

    25. At 1:53pm on 02 Nov 2010, wynneb wrote:
    Education in this country is a disgrace and the sooner we get the educationalists out of it, the better!
    For too long education has followed the road of intellectualised clap-trap where buzz words like diversity, self-worth, comprehensive have run roughshod over content.
    GCSE maths is a disgrace. English is barely better.

    We need to pay far more atention to the needs of business than to educationalists. What is the value of a GCSE at D or below (or how bad do you have to be)? I interviewed for a PA recently and she claimed to have 6 GCSEs. She hadn't stated her grades, but on enquiring, I was gobsmacked to learn that 4 of the 6 were below C. Qualification indeed. Was she pround of her achievment, did it demonstrate a level of intellectual ability? No, but I'm sure that she stands a chance of getting a job if a prospective employer fails to ask her grades - what's right or wrong then?

    --------------------------------

    Surely that's the fault of the employer if they don't check her grades then? Did you say what your requirements were on your job advert? You can hardly blame the girl for trying to make her qualifications sound good, perhaps she should work in sales...

    How does this prove that education in this country is a disgrace? How has the attainment of school leavers changed over the last 50 years? You have know data with which to make these statements.

    What are the needs of business that you think the education system is lacking? Just because no intelligent person wants to work for you doesn't mean that there aren't bright young people out there. In fact it suggests quite the opposite!

  • Comment number 29.

    Do school league tables improve standards? No, they just create confusion.

  • Comment number 30.

    No.

    - Better teaching.
    - More tests, less coursework.
    - Setting pass marks instead of granting a grade to a set percentage of entrants.
    - Pushing for improvement.
    - Skilling up rather than dumbing down.
    - More rights for teachers, less for pupils.

    That will help improve education standards.

  • Comment number 31.

    To keep this on topic about League Tables.

    As stated above, article is difficult to understand the meaning.

    The problem with the tables is that the error in them is huge. What I mean by this is that very small tweaks in how you 'score' the schools lead to huge changes in the final rankings.

    For example, I would suspect that by modifying the weighting of say, A-levels against GCSE results, you could completely change the order of the ranking.

    So the results you see are completly defined by how you decided to measure the schools, not how well they actually perform. And when you have this situation when trying to perform a study, the results are useless.

    If this was the only issue, then the tables would just be a waste of time. They cause active damage when parents who can afford to, on the whim of the tables, put their children into a 'good' school, leading to a ghettoisation of the schooling system. It's not their fault, as they are led to believe the tables are actually useful.

  • Comment number 32.

    Both my children have 10 GCSE's at grade C or above. 5 a's and 5 B's for the eldest, 5 B's and 5C's for the youngest. I got a total of 4 B's and 2 C's at 'o' level and a grade 1 cse ('o'level equivalent). So they've beaten me hands down as they took one attempt and I got three at the resit stage.

    They were educated in a mixed ability comprehensive school. I think it's a case of Nurture plus Nature for all children. Unfortunately poverty in some areas of Wales means that chiildren lack support to achieve.

  • Comment number 33.

    School league tables only do what is required and that is to show improvements in the core subjects. This is not a true reflection of how well children are progressing overall. The core subjects promote convergent thinking to fit one criteria and that is to provide little workers of the future. We abandon at our peril subjects which could promote the expansion of childrens minds. We need more divergent thinking in our population. We need to open our minds and not follow a dogmatic educational system. A child who is poor at maths could have the potential to be a great artist, but that child could be prevented from being so because he/she does not fit in with the rigid system of examination at every stage of school development. We are not all destined to be captains of finance if we jump through the right hoops or shovelling burgers if we are not. We are all different and our education system should be drawing out what we are good at and not rejecting people if they don't fit the bill.

  • Comment number 34.

    According to the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment, the UK currently ranks 14th in Science, 17th in reading and 24th in maths in the global league tables. We're below the likes of Estonia. Compared to Finland, we're decades behind.

    As with many things, we first need to accept that we are dreadful in this area. We then need to look at countries who perform far better than us and start to use some of their methods.

  • Comment number 35.

    A better question might be do THE CURRENT school league tables improve standards to which the answer quite simply is no. Schools simply look for ways to offload problematic and struggling pupils and look to take easier exam boards than some of the top schools to boost the pass rate. That said it certainly doesn't mean that league tables in general aren't a good thing and with some thought and some standardisation to make the statistics consistent and comparable, they could be of real use.

    Imagine for instance a league table which takes into account improvement in pass marks over the past 12 months, geography and economics, whereby a school which is in a deprived area and has previously had poor results, could outscore a public school based on the improvements it has made. It's a sort of combination of the league tables and the ofsted reports.

  • Comment number 36.

    At least having targets gave you some way of keeping a check on what was happening. It's little surprise that doing away with targets on education, health and policing was the first thing this incompetent coalition did on getting in to office. Without targets they hope it will make it all the harder to be held to account for the complete failures we have in store over the next five years.

  • Comment number 37.

    League tables are totally stupid.
    Good exam results indicate many things; teaching ability, learning ability and the governments curriculum programme are just a few. Children should be taught how to question and access information. The subjects taught, at school level, do not need to be massively varied but rather comprehensive and all taught, at/to the same standard, in every school in the country.
    You can teach, Maths, English, History, geography, physics, biology, chemistry, French/Spanish, sociology, psychology and a smaller general mixture of woodwork, metal work, cooking, sewing, art, and music. I feel that sport and religeon are the province of the parents, and wider society, and is not relevant to the "education" of a human being at school level. Sport could be an after school thing if a child has an interest, but this could be done at social sports centers that provide training for all people regardless of age.
    Once a child knows how to research and gather good, valid, information proficiently then they can widen their knowledge base at GCSE and A Level/Diploma and then specialise at university or technical college.

    If children are allowed to be children, treated with respect and are involved in the life of their family and society and not treated seperately and isolated, then they will learn social skills and how to live in a community. They will learn to see other people and to accept them in their differences and will learn tolerance and fair mindidedness. Society will be better off all round.

  • Comment number 38.

    21. At 1:49pm on 02 Nov 2010, Rays a Larf wrote

    the NHS is run just like the old Utility Companies, ie 4 people to do get one job done.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sheer ignorance from the above contributor. O.K. Mr Larf if you need complicated surgery we will give you one doctor to do all the work you require. From anesthetist to recovery nurse. I bet you'll be squirming then and complying then about lack of resources.

    One other thing I'll guarantee is that you would struggle in todays class room. Education has come a long way since you were most likely at school. It is not all dumbed down unless you only want to read the Mail or the Sun then I'll agree with you. There are too many people in the country who think the way you do. Go to a school get the facts try to do the work see how well you do. Go to a local Government meeting. Do some voluntary work, you Big Society, in your local hospital. Get your information first hand. However this means getting off your backside and not being spoon fed crud from the political rags of the Rabid Right

  • Comment number 39.

    1. At 12:50pm on 02 Nov 2010, scotty1694 wrote:
    "best way to maintain educational standards?

    set pass rate minimum limit the more you fail the limit the less funding you shall be given?
    thank should keep them motivated.

    i also think there are much bigger issues for the educational system than debating wether or not we should have league tables"

    Maintaining educational standards? You should look no further than improving your spelling and grammar. Shocking!

  • Comment number 40.

    If humilating children in a schools is considered beenfical then they work a treat.

    If the authorities want to improve education then end the 19th century class-ridden joke that exists at the moment - where middle class mums are piously volunteering to arrange alatar flowers so Tarquin and Jemima won't have to associate with the children of common people at the local comprehensive.

    Or the wannabe working class dad pretends to have found his faith so his kids have a chance of associating with "nice" boys and girls at the lovely St Elmos etc.

    Tinkering with education (grant maintained, academies, free schools, private schools, faith schools, grammar schools, would be grammar schools, we are just like Eton schools (nice accents only) etc etc) could there be any more types of school? None of which do anything to change the standard of education nationally) to maintain class ridden snobbery and pretension is the UK's national sport. Every government plays.

  • Comment number 41.

    34. At 2:19pm on 02 Nov 2010, CaptainJameson wrote:
    According to the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment, the UK currently ranks 14th in Science, 17th in reading and 24th in maths in the global league tables. We're below the likes of Estonia. Compared to Finland, we're decades behind.

    As with many things, we first need to accept that we are dreadful in this area. We then need to look at countries who perform far better than us and start to use some of their methods.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    You will find those countries do not spend precious time and money from their education budgets endlessly remaking their school system

    None of them also have education ministers customarilly running down and abusing pupils who go to state schools.

    Parents in those countries do not have to go the farce of pretending to be religious or dedicated charity workers so they can indulge their class-ridden prejudices.

    In other words they focus on education, not on ways of reinforcing status.

  • Comment number 42.

    37. At 2:33pm on 02 Nov 2010, adelaide wrote:

    League tables are totally stupid.
    Good exam results indicate many things; teaching ability, learning ability and the governments curriculum programme are just a few. Children should be taught how to question and access information. The subjects taught, at school level, do not need to be massively varied but rather comprehensive and all taught, at/to the same standard, in every school in the country.
    You can teach, Maths, English, History, geography, physics, biology, chemistry, French/Spanish, sociology, psychology and a smaller general mixture of woodwork, metal work, cooking, sewing, art, and music. I feel that sport and religeon are the province of the parents, and wider society, and is not relevant to the "education" of a human being at school level. Sport could be an after school thing if a child has an interest, but this could be done at social sports centers that provide training for all people regardless of age.
    Once a child knows how to research and gather good, valid, information proficiently then they can widen their knowledge base at GCSE and A Level/Diploma and then specialise at university or technical college.

    If children are allowed to be children, treated with respect and are involved in the life of their family and society and not treated seperately and isolated, then they will learn social skills and how to live in a community. They will learn to see other people and to accept them in their differences and will learn tolerance and fair mindidedness. Society will be better off all round.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Good post totally agree. Especially about the Questioning and researching. These are subjects that don't get taught in state schools but do get taught I suspect in private schools. These subjects go a long way to giving children confidence and the skills to succeed. And I suspect that by not being taught in State Schools is why State Schools can be seen as the lesser avenue of education. For such skills have a positive feedback on learning and the desire to learn.

  • Comment number 43.

    Short answer do league tables work, I thought that the massive reporting of "failing schools" and "Super Heads" were an indication that NO they did not!
    I was talking recently to a young teacher of French, and his opinion was that it would be "better if the teachers were in charge, not the pupils".
    (A comment on how he has to teach to the lowest common denominator to ensure "No-one fails".)
    If that is education these days, then I am glad I was educated at a Grammar School before the Loony left conspired against children to scrap them and introduced the politically inspired comprhensive system!
    Perhaps the teaching is better left to the teachers without CONSTANT criticism from media or government.
    The students get excellent A grades, the media say the grades are "dumbed down", Universities want applicants to take another test to decide literacy/numeracy, (Something that Primary schools did in my schooldays), and there are cries of "Elitism".
    Some kids are very intelligent, some are average intelligent and some, the minority, are less intelligent.
    This has always been the same, but now league tables etc make the fact impossible to avoid. So what do schools do? Fiddle the results.
    Why do government not intervene? They WANT the results!
    Well done politicians. A good reason why schools should be independent of politics!

  • Comment number 44.

    "What is the best way to maintain educational standards?"

    In my experience the current educational standards are appalling - the last thing we should be trying to do is 'maintain' them! The standards need to be vastly improved and so does the quality of teaching.

    Whether that's done through league tables or by some other method is immaterial, but poor teaching is poor teaching...with or without league tables.

  • Comment number 45.

    43. At 2:50pm on 02 Nov 2010, firemensaction wrote:

    "Universities want applicants to take another test to decide literacy/numeracy, (Something that Primary schools did in my schooldays), and there are cries of "Elitism"."

    This really does crack me up. Of course Universities should be elitist! Only the best academic 5-10% should ever go there. If you can't do basic literacy and numeracy you really shouldn't be there to begin with.

  • Comment number 46.

    10. At 1:16pm on 02 Nov 2010, HaveIGotThatWrong wrote:

    As exam pass rates have been increasing year-on-year for several years now it clear for all to see that children in the UK have become much more intelligent in just a few short years, and I'm sure school league tables have helped drive educational standards higher and higher !

    Or, have I got that wrong ?

    ////////////////////////////////

    Tongue firmly in cheek no doubt.

  • Comment number 47.

    45. At 2:59pm on 02 Nov 2010, Sue Denim wrote:
    43. At 2:50pm on 02 Nov 2010, firemensaction wrote:

    "Universities want applicants to take another test to decide literacy/numeracy, (Something that Primary schools did in my schooldays), and there are cries of "Elitism"."

    This really does crack me up. Of course Universities should be elitist! Only the best academic 5-10% should ever go there. If you can't do basic literacy and numeracy you really shouldn't be there to begin with.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes and isn't it odd how this elite curiously seems to equal private schooling, upper middle class familes who speak in a certain manner.

    Of course it could be that children are stupid on the basis of their parent's income - an odd idea only adhered to in the UK

    Why bother educating the "poor" at all? It is all the fault of that radical Mr Gladstone.

  • Comment number 48.

    45. At 2:59pm on 02 Nov 2010, Sue Denim wrote:
    43. At 2:50pm on 02 Nov 2010, firemensaction wrote:

    "Universities want applicants to take another test to decide literacy/numeracy, (Something that Primary schools did in my schooldays), and there are cries of "Elitism"."

    This really does crack me up. Of course Universities should be elitist! Only the best academic 5-10% should ever go there. If you can't do basic literacy and numeracy you really shouldn't be there to begin with.

    -----------------------------------------

    Why do you think that only 5-10% should go to university?

    I certainly wasn't in that bracket but went to university, got a 2:1 in geology and have an excellent career. All those that are think they will benefit from going to university should be able to go. The individual should choose if they think it's in their interests to go, not some ramdom cut off percentage.

  • Comment number 49.

    16. At 1:26pm on 02 Nov 2010, Fitz13 wrote:
    11. At 1:18pm on 02 Nov 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    Do school league tables improve standards?

    And how do you calculate the standards in education that allow you to make this statement?
    -------

    You only have to ask the universities about how many kids they need to put through remedial studies to bring them up to the level required to do a degree course.

  • Comment number 50.

    Do the schools really perform less well? Or, are the researchers just saying they would be rated worse on the league tables?

    Once league tables are done away with, then children may be taught more appropriately (which might mean more understanding of the subject, and less "teaching to the test"), and may take more useful GCSEs rather than just going for the easy grades. Students may be entered for exams they MAY pass, whereas with league tables they may not be entered for them unless they are sure to pass.

  • Comment number 51.

    It's probably been said before but for best results leave teaching to the teachers, once politicians get involved (see:- NuLabour/social engineering) things rapidly go downhill.

  • Comment number 52.

    For those who want to read all 47 pages of the report, add http:// to the front and .pdf to the back.All so moderators don't delete this post.
    www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2010/wp246

    I found that there is an assumption that the financial difference that I believe to be £500 but by my calculation from the figures reported is £431 per pupil per year.

  • Comment number 53.

    36. At 2:25pm on 02 Nov 2010, phill wrote:

    At least having targets gave you some way of keeping a check on what was happening."

    The problem is that the targets let you keep an eye on something that is totally irrelevant.

    The number of pupils in a school getting 5 good GCSEs or more is not a useful metric.

    The number of reported crimes solved by a police force is not a useful metric.

    The number of patients seen within 12 hours in A&E is not a useful metric.

    A better measurement for schools would be 'how well we have helped the pupil reach their potential'. For police it might be 'how have we helped reduce crime (not just reported crime) and make people feel safer'. For the NHS it might be 'how many people have we helped to have as good a quality of life as possible'.

    The problem is that the sensible metrics are really hard to measure objectively, so, instead we have easier to measure metrics which detract from the main purpose of the organisation - so rather than trying to do what they should be doing, they are trying to achieve good scores in something different.

  • Comment number 54.

    I believe that 'O' levels were abolished because so many schools fiddled the figures. It was easy to do, only put forward those kids that were guaranteed to pass, with high marks. Did it work? Well all the schools at the top of the 'O' level leauge had kids who sat an average of 6 exams each, whilst the average number across the country was 10 exams per child.

    So we got compulsary GCSE's, schools could no longer fiddle the figures, or could they? Before GCSE's were introduced there was little pressure on school selection. Now it's essential for a school to select only the best to maintain their position at the top. So we have parents acting and being treated as criminals to try and get the best school for their children.

    So what is to be done? A simple solution is to have a one-day multiple-choice exam for all kids in school on the (unannounced) day of the exam. The marks are assessed for the class as a whole, averaged out for the number of kids in the class. As the kids themselves are not identified the class average, compared year-on-year is an indication of the effectiveness of the teachers and the school.

    This would be a simple system to administer, would put none of the school pupils under pressure and relying on the kids who show up on the day it would be beyound manipulation. There would still be the problem of school selection, but everything else would be out of the school's control.

    The teachers would hate it of course, but there again if there is one professional body that has lost it's public sympathy as dramatically as teachers have in the last 30 years I have yet to hear of them!


  • Comment number 55.

    Tables distort the truth. Managers will do anything to fiddle the figures. The tables were brought in by the Torys and have resulted in undermining the education system.

  • Comment number 56.

    47. At 3:19pm on 02 Nov 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    "45. At 2:59pm on 02 Nov 2010, Sue Denim wrote:
    43. At 2:50pm on 02 Nov 2010, firemensaction wrote:

    "Universities want applicants to take another test to decide literacy/numeracy, (Something that Primary schools did in my schooldays), and there are cries of "Elitism"."

    This really does crack me up. Of course Universities should be elitist! Only the best academic 5-10% should ever go there. If you can't do basic literacy and numeracy you really shouldn't be there to begin with.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes and isn't it odd how this elite curiously seems to equal private schooling, upper middle class familes who speak in a certain manner."

    Sadly it is true in some cases. Private schooling and upper middle class families do tend to lead to better educated students. Maybe if mainstream schools followed the example set by private schools and families pushed harder to get their kids better educated, it wouldn't be the case. The nonsense being peddled by 'educationalists' and the dumbing down of the curriculum most certainly haven't helped. Students these days are coming out with A* grades and can barely string a few sentences together. Neither can they add up three numbers without needing a calculator. Surely it shouldn't be this way?

  • Comment number 57.

    32. At 2:18pm on 02 Nov 2010, shillo wrote:

    Both my children have 10 GCSE's at grade C or above. 5 a's and 5 B's for the eldest, 5 B's and 5C's for the youngest. I got a total of 4 B's and 2 C's at 'o' level and a grade 1 cse ('o'level equivalent). So they've beaten me hands down as they took one attempt and I got three at the resit stage.

    =======================================================================

    No they haven't.

    Assuming you are of a certain age (to have 2 children having done GCSEs) when you took your exams they were graded on a RELATIVE scale (i.e. A grades were given to the top x% of marks and so on). Your children would have been graded on an ABSOLUTE scales (i.e. anyone getting over x% would get an A grade).

    Two entirely different things - in "old" money an A grade is worth a lot more.

    Anyway back to the League Table question.

    I have a friend who is a teacher and basically because of league tables the policy at her school is (unofficially):

    Any pupil expected to get a C grade or above on their own is given just enough attention to ensure they get that grade.

    Any pupil who is never going to get a C grade of above it pretty much ignored.

    Any pupil who can get C grade of above if enough time & effort is put in gets all the teaching attention to "drag" their grades up.

    Hence in an effort to improve table position the majority are ignored.


  • Comment number 58.

    The whole of the education system and all other government bodies for that matter should be treated much like a business, currently teachers know if the children pass/fail they will still have a job and still get all the cushy benefits and lax working hours. Like all other private businesses, if you dont perform or pull your weight then the door will be opnened and they will be asked to leave. we have a massive glut of teachers without jobs, so this is the only way to make things work. Tables are ideal, unless you have a target you have no reasion to strive forward. I know over 8 teachers, all of whom never get home later than 4pm all of these love the pension and good wages, and they all say the job is very very easy as its all put on aplate for you. I never buy the whole overworked underpaid teacher stories ! christ, £24k for a junior teacher isnt bad is it ! plus the 3 months holidays a year...oh thats right they do need to come in 3 or 4 days in the summer for preperations !!!! its a struggle isnt it !

  • Comment number 59.

    I don't know the answer to this one. What I do know is that kids are coming out of school without an ounce of common sense and have not been taught about life's necessities. Try asking a school leaver what compound interest is. Then have a look at their credit card debt in 5 years time.

    Went to a shop the other day. Large tins of coffee were selling at a higher cost per 100 grams than the equivalent in smaller sized jars - about 20% more expensive for the same brand. Yet people were still buying the tins! Mind you, at least the kids came out with lots of GCSEs!

  • Comment number 60.

    Absolutely, since it ensures those teachers who cannot perform are moved someplace else or shown to need "special measures".

    We need it for hospitals, surgeons and MPs too.

  • Comment number 61.

    Of course it improves standards. It shows where schools are failing to deliver academic performance and therefore highlights areas where attention/work needs to be focused.

    If your school is doing ok... why would anyone mind league tables? And if it's not then we can guess why they don't like it.

  • Comment number 62.

    49. At 3:26pm on 02 Nov 2010, Nakor wrote:
    16. At 1:26pm on 02 Nov 2010, Fitz13 wrote:
    11. At 1:18pm on 02 Nov 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    Do school league tables improve standards?

    And how do you calculate the standards in education that allow you to make this statement?
    -------

    You only have to ask the universities about how many kids they need to put through remedial studies to bring them up to the level required to do a degree course.

    ------------------------------------------

    That's because more and more people are going to university. More people means more less able people are going so more remedial classes are needed.

    The only way that statistic would work would be if the same percentage of school leavers were attending university. This isn't the case so is not a fair comparison.

  • Comment number 63.

    59. At 4:09pm on 02 Nov 2010, Sue Doughcoup wrote:
    I don't know the answer to this one. What I do know is that kids are coming out of school without an ounce of common sense and have not been taught about life's necessities. Try asking a school leaver what compound interest is. Then have a look at their credit card debt in 5 years time.

    Went to a shop the other day. Large tins of coffee were selling at a higher cost per 100 grams than the equivalent in smaller sized jars - about 20% more expensive for the same brand. Yet people were still buying the tins! Mind you, at least the kids came out with lots of GCSEs!

    ------------------------------

    How many of these people buying the large coffee jars were 16 years old then? I bet not many. Would seem your generation are the ones that lack the common sense to me.

  • Comment number 64.

    61. At 4:14pm on 02 Nov 2010, chris911t wrote:
    Of course it improves standards. It shows where schools are failing to deliver academic performance and therefore highlights areas where attention/work needs to be focused.

    If your school is doing ok... why would anyone mind league tables? And if it's not then we can guess why they don't like it.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    So let's not worry about the children blighted by these tables, they er "deserve it"?

    Is that the attitude because there is precious little schoolchild can do about turning around a whole school which is branded as "failing".

    So why is insulting them such a good thing?

  • Comment number 65.

    In my opinion league tables have, in whichever sphere of public policy they have been introduced, served only to pervert the figures and encourage those responsible to devote more time and effort to reaching, in any way, the stated targets rather than effectively adressing the problems that the targets are designed to tackle. The sooner we are rid of this target-driven approach to policing and education the better. Despite what the figures say, I'd pose the following questions:

    1) Is there really less crime now?
    2) Whilst school leavers may be better qualified than ever before, are they actually better educated now than they were in the past?

  • Comment number 66.

    Yes...competition is good for education as it focuses on what the market/country wants?

    Don't get education and qualifications mixed up like Blare!They are different....but mercifully not too different!

  • Comment number 67.

    "Do school league tables improve standards?"

    Not on their own but they measure performance and are thus a vital part of the feedback monitoring that governors, teachers etc. need to improve standards.

  • Comment number 68.

    We do NOT need it for hospitals, surgeons and no win no fee.All produce cherry picking and exclusion of the poor!

    No doubt that teachers need degrees and to spend three weeks a year doing continual professional development during the summer break!

  • Comment number 69.

    I'll give a USA perspective. People (especially from areas with poor schools) screamed and cried when Bush established "No Child Left Behind" with yearly mandatory testing and grants lost on poor performance. The issues were these:
    1. Some schools get more immigrants who don't speak English.
    2. Students now have their teachers over a barrel (we won't score well if you are mean to us)
    3. Some school districts are now paying students to attend/ do well on tests
    4. Teachers "teach to the test" instead of real world knowledge

    OK, given all that, I still believe in testing the students and scoring the schools. The reason is that some administrators say, "You always get a bunch of flunkouts so it's OK", or "Who's going to strip the tobacco if we don't have some illiterates?" They find illiterate people easier to manipulate and not only get accustomed to carrying them, but start to count on them, especially for illegal activities. The soundest policy is education for everybody, no matter how inconvenient.

  • Comment number 70.

    Put simply its a cynical way of making some schools more desirable from a parents point of view than poor pewrforming ones-and guess what the poor performers tend all to be inner city.But hang on didnt we already know that?Waste of public money.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    Instead of mucking about with league tables....how about making exams a little more meaningful?

  • Comment number 73.

    How about setting a league table by testing today's 15yo kids with a 1970's 11-Plus paper and then basing their funding on that?

    I suspect the results would not be at all surprising.

  • Comment number 74.

    Do we want to train children to pass exams - or do we want to educate them?
    League tables promote the first, the Welsh system prefers the second.

  • Comment number 75.

    #53 Well all you seem to be suggesting is very wooly and easily open to fiddling the figures. The latest crime recordings are by far the best since records began and it seems to me that the only reason this lot want to change it is because they know they won't be able to match them.

    The Conservatives were very keen on using the targets for hospital aquired infections when they apparently showed them increasing (by the way there were no accurate records kept of these infections when the last tory government were in)but you can bet they have got did of those targets too. I suppose you will claim they are irrelevant now that the Tories are in?

  • Comment number 76.

    "Are there more effective ways than league tables to present school results?" Well, I guess this is a common issue at the global level. In my opinion, presenting the league tables or not are both OK. It depends on the ‘boss’ will. After all, it's the school sponsors who call the shots: if the local tax payers feel strongly this objectionable, they may prefer to abolish it; or not, in the reversal. Compared with private schools, some of which are known for their less rigid standards on test score results, partially for the same reason mentioned just now, they could decide to choose a way never failing their founders as well as parent committee members.
    Speaking of maintaining or improving educational standards, I argue to pay much more attention on the functions of our present education systems, especially on those of curriculum and faculty. Keeping innovating in education field is always necessary. Like, developing in more effective and efficient mechanisms to increase pupils' interests in study, or adding more practical and useful techniques in class to prepare students for their future careers. By nature, in the learning process from the innocent to the sophisticated, young people do have the momentum to be motivated. The problem a educator should tackle is how to set off their potential and intrigue them get ahead along the right direction. At any rate, knowledge taught at school is about the intricate part of the world, beyond the mundane such as to possess its learners, and thereby easily occupy their mind. The faculty shall be the professionals acting to bring out the best in students.
    In addition, no matter how we look forward to fabulous performance from our next generation, the paternal education-evaluation system has been outdated. There are many factors in relative to school results. An immediate one is instructors, whose property is essential to the standard of education system. There are good reasons for their work should be under scrutiny and their expertise should be polished constantly. To give you an idea, have a look at ESL teachers from outside of the English-speaking countries. Their commitment in the course directly determined the students' level in English skills. Unfortunately, only few groups of students did grasp the language after a long-time class studying program, while most find that they are still lingering on the entrance. Their poor performance in English is a substantial reflection of their teachers’ measly abilities.
    In a nutshell, like everything else, education needs to adapt to the changing times. It calls initiative of reforming unreasonable traditions and creativity of forging new educational fabric. Let’s keep an eye on it together.

  • Comment number 77.

    Competition encourages the able, but can discourage the weak. To avoid discouragement all must feel valued and whatever level of attainment they achieve is to be met positively.

  • Comment number 78.

    In the 1950s children from all backgrounds received an excellent state eduction, they left primary school able to read, write and with a fairly good grasp of maths.
    They were streamed according to ability, academic or practical.
    This is the system that shuld be returned to.
    It is not unfair, it is sensible.

  • Comment number 79.

    Targets do not help in any thing, it only encourages false marks.
    Its the same with the police as they are encouraged to prosecute innocent people on false charges, as it makes their arrest figures look good, for example rape is a good example as the woman is made to look like 'an innocent little thing' whereas in reality she is an evil person who accuses for spite , jealousy or just because she feels like it. There is no investigation into the girls motives or any prosecution when she is found to have lied, and this is supposed to be justice. The same with the NHS, there are so many problems with the whole system with doctors who are so over paid but do not take responsibility for their mistakes. We then have this coalition making targets for huge amounts of new houses to be built, instead they should be limiting the amount of children each person should have aswell as sending unworking immigrants back to their own country. Setting targets only encourage shoddy workmanship and lack of responsibility, Frigidaire freezers spring to mind as they do not take any responsibility for manufacturing faults in their freezers and their Managing Director wants to remain anonymous. The banks only seem to have targets as to how much their bonuses will be and how little service they can give to customers. There are many more examples but to many to list.

  • Comment number 80.

    78. At 9:15pm on 02 Nov 2010, Lynn from Sussex wrote:
    In the 1950s children from all backgrounds received an excellent state eduction, they left primary school able to read, write and with a fairly good grasp of maths.
    They were streamed according to ability, academic or practical.
    This is the system that shuld be returned to.
    It is not unfair, it is sensible.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    And all the poor children were put in one stream to prevent them from contaminating the "nice" children

  • Comment number 81.

    School league tables encourage learning by numbers, just to get the school further up the table. I have seen my own child subject to military style regimented enforced cramming just to get the right score for the school. Is this teaching? Where is the discovery, invention and free thinking?
    Also, the league tables do not tell you which of the schools have a disproportionate number of immigrant children whose first language is not English, for example. So it is hardly comparing like with like.
    Scrpa the tables, let teachers teach and bean counters err.... count beans!

  • Comment number 82.

    League tables do not improve standards

    We DO need to ensure that all children can read and write to a good standard by age 7 - and have made special needs provision, teaching, extra help, whatever is needed if they look like not making it.

    If you can't read and write properly by 7, you will probably not do it by 11, and if you go to secondary school you will fail, you will be disruptive, trouble, etc, etc.

    I take it as a given that middle class children do better because of their parents - environment, expectation, space, back up, encouragment, and so forth.

    Tables tell you which school got the good pupils.

    Governments like tables because it means they don't address the problem of poor teachers, and don't have to address that the inequality of life chances starts at birth. But they are well off enough to make sure that isn't their families problem, and at that point most politicians stop bothering. Tables can be used to hit schools, and yet do nothing for the pupils at a 'failing ' school. Cutting central LEA spending means special needs children are not helped and are left to disrupt the already poor chances of children in 'sink' schools.

    The solution is difficult, and probably not cheap, and politicians prefer to dodge the problem with tables instead

  • Comment number 83.

    "Thomas Friedman said that when he was a youngster his family used to say that finish all the food in the plate because there are many in India going hungry". Today the saying to the students is that they do their homework or someone in India will keep them HUNGRY. Both statements are true, the quality of education is going down rapidly, money is thrown where parental responsibilities are missing. The majority of the Science graduates with PHD's are foreign born, this clearly shows that many Western countries that prospered on knowledge based economies are sliding fast, the wages and benefits are going higher while the productivity and marketability of the goods produced are coming down. If we do not address the disparity in education early, we can find out later how hard it beats us.

  • Comment number 84.

    This is obviously the fall out from removing the national curriculum
    and standards. If you remove the league tables, every one relaxes because it doesnt matter any more and the kids suffer. This is an outrage.

  • Comment number 85.

    Please tell the blonde with the touchscreen display to say millions instead of billions. I know she means well but it's careless journalism.

  • Comment number 86.

    "Do school league tables improve standards?"

    No, better teaching improves standards. League tables only purport to show who's doing a better job than others.

    However, the pass rate of exams is a poor marker for determining how well a school teaches the pupils entrusted to its care. All a school has to do is teach how to pass the exam, which isn't the same thing as a good education at all.

    Surely it would be better to show more long term results of a good education? By pointing out how successful the alumni may or not be? I would be far happier to find out that 75% or more ex-pupils of my child's school had gone on to get first-class degrees, high-flying jobs, satisfying careers, started their own businesses etc etc, than I would be to discover that the same proportion of pupils with the same school results and the same league ranking, went on to work in McDonalds or be unemployed, like so many graduates seem to do these days. There's a reason the country's elite all seem to send their sons to Eton.

  • Comment number 87.

    Er, no.

  • Comment number 88.

    At 9:15pm on 02 Nov 2010, Lynn from Sussex wrote:
    In the 1950s children from all backgrounds received an excellent state eduction, they left primary school able to read, write and with a fairly good grasp of maths.
    They were streamed according to ability, academic or practical.
    This is the system that shuld be returned to.
    It is not unfair, it is sensible.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    I remember the 1950s well, as I was at school then. It surprises me now how much of what I was taught was either plain wrong, or has become outdated or irrelevant. Such is progress, of course, and I have no complaints to make on those grounds. However, I would take issue with the implication that all children of my generation left school able to read and write and possessing a fairly good grasp of maths. Would that it were true. Maybe it was true for some schools, but I assure you it wasn't true for many. In my own class (of 44 pupils), there were three total non-readers, and a good half dozen more who were struggling badly in all areas of a rather limited curriculum. Sadly, my school, which was reckoned to be a good one for the time, was by no means unusual. I was one of the lucky ones, being able to make up for the deficiencies of my school education in later life. All too many never got that opportunity. That was a waste. That was unfair. That was not sensible.

  • Comment number 89.

    School league tables mean little .

    I note the the title page mentions the difference in school grades in England and Wales .

    Why Combination of cultural, language and funding

    In Wales
    We tend to leave Education to Schools and there is very little education takes place in the home.
    The Welsh language takes primary places over ALL other subjects In ALL techer MUST be able to teacher through the Welsh medium
    THAT is REGARDLESS of the teacher ability and knowledge to teach say Maths Physics or chemistry etc.

    Further there are very few texts books written in Welsh ,hence there tends to be a serious lack of quality text books in Welsh.

    Political and Cultural Ideals in Wales stave the schools of funding.

    As a prime example. A school in the borough Conwy appointed a headmaster from England . Once in the job the Headmaster realised that the funding for the school PER pupil was dismal ... something like Ten times lessfrom the school he had just come from ...
    What good are league tables in this case absolutely none

    yet Another case of Public spending WAGES first then if anything left in the funding ,services next ...

  • Comment number 90.

    Wales as a huge problem of identity ..It is trying to Invent "Welshness"
    By doing so it is in serious danger of cultural isolation and respect.
    until such times as Wales resolves it identity many public services including education WILL continues to fall into decline.

    Education of the children in Wales in far too important to let the extremists influence educational policy.
    For Education standards raise and catch up with the rest of Britain. Schools with Wales need to be "Self Governing"" with there own budgets.
    In the meantime Wales and the Welsh can carry on involving establishing
    it's identity WITHOUT damaging to Welsh Educational system.

    The children in Wales are no different in ability than the rest of the UK. it is blinkered politicians and EU funding that is messing up the Principality

  • Comment number 91.

    Moments of success are transient, a little like football clubs outside the premier leagues. In other words without money to throw at getting the best students, all schools suffer the consequences of moments of failure just as evenly as their more welcome counterpart. It is like tossing a coin; in the long run the two lines eventually join up.

    League tables? They change every week (in free competition that is).

  • Comment number 92.

    My yardstick for the educational standards in this country is my Ukrainian stepson, who came over here with me and his mother in 2005 and went into a very good Boarding School. He had to "mark time" for 18 months to enable the rest of the students to catch up with him educationally!!!!! And he was learning in a non-native language!!
    An absolute disgrace and my heart went out to him, as he lost the will to learn at such pathetic levels. He achieved 10 GCSEs, but could not face A Levels in such a woefully inadequate educational system.

  • Comment number 93.

    It depends on the measurement criteria. GCSE grades are not necessarily the measure of a good education, nor do youngsters who have to commute long distances to schools perform as well as those who are educated close to home.
    It would make more sense to compare rural areas of Wales to equally sparsely populated areas of England, if any still exist, and schools in the major urban centres to schools in similar sized urban centres in the rest of the UK.
    Sadly this sort of detail does not feature in your report, so all we are left with is the tabloid expose. I'm sure the truth is somewhat different to what the headline suggests.

  • Comment number 94.

    League tables bring academic attainment and Ofsted's opinion on the day to the public forum. In short it tries to standardise schools.

    What cannot be compared is access to schools, availability of places, children's real life experience of it, the cost of uniforms and extra-curricula activities. A poor kid in a rich school isn't going to be a happy kid no matter how many GCSEs they get.

    Have worked in this area all my life and offer the following guidance: look locally where teachers send their kids, and look carefully at whether your kid is an academic because most of us are not.

  • Comment number 95.

    Targets, of which school league tables are just a variant, are very good for improving performance, providing they relate to something important. Most of the (last) Government's targets merely measure what was easy to measure!

    Badly aimed targets can be counterproductive. For example, treat people in A&E within a time limit, regardless of the seriousness and urgency of their conditions.

    Schools and education are about far more than exam results. The problem is that the intelectual, manual-skills, responsible citizen, sporting, cultural developments of children are very difficult to measure in any objective way. Exam results are very easy to measure.

    For some time now it has been very clear that schools teach to the exams. Never mind about thorough understanding of the subject, learning to intellectually challenge received wisdom, just learn the subject matter in order to pass the exams. That's not education.

    Today's children may get far better exam results than we did 40 years ago (let's not even consider the huge reduction in standards and grade/pass marks!!!), but they're certainly not better educated.

  • Comment number 96.

    HYS - "What is the best way to maintain educational standards?

    Get back to real pre-1993 Teaching methods that don't cater to Dogma.
    Enforce discipline - as a priority.
    Insist on greater Parental involvement.
    Conentrate on reading, Writing and Arithmetic.
    Scrap 'Teaching for Exams'.
    Cut homework to realistic levels.
    Encourage the will to 'Win'.
    Keep PC-Socialism out of the Classroom.

    'League-tables'? OK - as long as we replace those failing Headmasters...

  • Comment number 97.

    League tables comparing schools are a useful tool for targeting improvements in school performance.

    There will be all sorts of reasons for different levels of performance in schools, the catchement, the facilities, and the teachers, especially the Head.

    This cannot be about 'name and shame'; that helps nobody.

    The question to ask is: what can reasonably be achieved in the circumstances at a particular school, and what needs to be done to deal with the most pressing deficiencies?

    Measure, make a plan.

  • Comment number 98.

    No they don't .... but they identify those schools that are not fit for purpose!

  • Comment number 99.

    84. At 02:51am on 03 Nov 2010, braveraddish wrote:

    This is obviously the fall out from removing the national curriculum
    and standards. If you remove the league tables, every one relaxes because it doesnt matter any more and the kids suffer. This is an outrage."

    You're obviously someone who believes everything the government of the day says.

    School league tables tell you nothing meaningful. Kids suffer BECAUSE OF the league tables - eg not being entered for some exams in case they fail, being taught to the test rather than to understand the subject etc.

    Children are not better educated now than they were before the league tables were produced - anyone who employs school leavers can attest to that. Maybe they get better GCSE grades, but that just means they are better at doing GCSEs, in general they have far less understanding of what they're doing.

    Most teachers are good teachers and, left to their own devices, will try to teach their pupils to achieve as much as they can. Parents and heads/deputy heads/governors should be enough oversight.

  • Comment number 100.

    You ask people to count beans and beans is what they will count.
    All league tables do is force teachers to 'teach to the exam' at the cost of providing deeper understanding of the subject and a more well-rounded education.

    So league tables do improve schools' ability to score league table points, but this is not necessarily the same thing as giving students a better education.

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.