Education & Family

Changes to English school league tables: Your views

A sign on a door (reading: Exams in progress) outside an examination room

Schools in England are being judged on the basis of raw GCSE results for the last time as the government is introducing changes to school league tables.

From next year, schools will be measured on what is known as Progress 8.

Progress 8 will replace the five or more GCSEs benchmark as the key measure for all schools.

Many of you have shared your views with us.

"It should be all about the children's education."

Mrs Scroope commented: "Teaching now seems to be about league tables rather than good teaching. Children are just being used to get the school up the league tables - it should be all about the children's education and less about the school's reputation."

SuperJase1985 said league tables should be used in a different way. He wrote: "Leagues are a useful guide to where problems are, that's it. They shouldn't be used for parents to decide where their kids are going. Help should be given to the schools to improve and if the teachers are substandard, get rid of them. Quality of teachers will determine if you have a good education or not. Teaching needs to be considered a profession and held in higher regard."

A commenter called Very Sensible said: "A lot of comments dismissing league tables but I would bet that a large number of these outraged parents have looked at exam results when choosing schools, just as potential university students study league tables and opt for Russell Group universities. We all know that schools put on a good show for open evenings and promise great teaching, but you cannot gloss over, or cover up poor exam results."

Mr B reckons the new changes are a good idea. He said: "Great new approach. The process through schooling can never be rounded up in an exam. If you are poor at tests, then you are doomed to fail. The flip side is, you are good at tests and remember the concept but not the theory."

Tornado said: "Teachers should be allowed to teach, not simply push students through exams. I have met many young people who have passed their English or maths GCSEs, yet they cannot add up or spell correctly. Education is so much more than passing an exam. League tables and the endless need by government for statistics does more harm to education than good!"

"Don't we need both measures?"

Col said the league tables are vital: "They show up problems such as the poor handling of boys in classrooms leading to a gender gap that lasts to A-levels. Also I'm not sure adjusting for intake helps parents. If your wealth is average or better do you want to send your kid to a school ranked highly because it spends all its efforts improving disadvantaged children but fails to challenge the average or advantaged?"

Mrs Trellis commented: "Don't we need both measures? Some way of showing how much schools and students have improved AND absolute GCSE results to show comparable attainment? Employers and universities aren't particularly interested that someone has improved a lot. They want As."

No its not just you, said: "Progression per student is what counts. How much a school can build with a student. No grade will reflect how far a child has come, how hard they have worked and how much a school has supported that child."

Beepstick said: "When young people go for a job or a university placement they will be judged on their exam results so why shouldn't the school?"

Foxxinator suggested schools should take a different approach: "It would be good to see schools teaching more real world application of subjects rather than passing an exam with information you will forget six months after sitting it.

"If we taught maths to discuss topics such as loans, mortgages, interest rates and such like - something that will deliver value in the real world. Instead we're taught a syllabus that doesn't prepare us for adult life."

"Teachers should be allowed to teach."

Leary offered his views on this issue. "Kids should learn to gain knowledge and develop into a rounded individual rather than just pass an exam.

"There is too much pressure put on teachers and pupils. Failing exams may seem the end of the world at the time but really it means nothing. Hard work, a good attitude and a willingness to learn will allow you to get where you want in life. Trust me I did it."

Briblogg is not a fan of changes. "My poor kids have been experimented on since starting school. My youngest son is about to do his GCSEs which were changed to make them harder. So his year in comparison to previous years are expected to do 'worse'. Next year it all changes again. Education needs to be taken out of the hands of politicians trying to make a name for themselves."

TheMiddleWay shared his views with us: "I always think it's interesting to view valued added in terms of a school's performance as well. If you can cherry-pick your pupils, you should be doing better. If you have pupils with multiple disadvantages and you're taking them from a low level to a higher, but not top level, that is a huge achievement. Teachers should be trusted more to know what they are doing and achieving anyway."

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