Headteachers to establish rival league tables

Heads’ unions are teaming up with academies to develop new league tables that will include information about class sizes and sport, as well as GCSE results.

Although headteachers’ unions have opposed league tables since they were introduced about twenty years ago, a coalition led by ASCL and NAHT are planning to publish alternative rankings, the BBC reports.

The new tables are a backlash against Coalition reforms this year, meaning performance will be measured only by a pupil’s first attempt at GCSE, to clamp down on early entries and repeated resits.

The reformed tables will cover all GCSE attempts, extra-curricular activities, sport and other measures such as class sizes. They will be published in the autumn, ahead of the government’s own league tables, and initially cover more than 3,000 state secondary schools.

ASCL’s Brian Lightman said: “The current performance tables tell part of a story about schools’ and students’ achievements, but they do not tell the whole story. That is why we are pleased to be involved in helping to create these alternate performance tables that give a fuller picture of achievement.”

However professor Alan Smithers from Birmingham University dismissed the development: “You can understand why schools will be tempted to publish alternative league tables, but the sad fact is that they are likely to be forgotten quite quickly because they don’t have any direct consequences for schools. The impression parents have of schools will always be determined by the official tables.”

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6 thoughts on “Headteachers to establish rival league tables

  1. The introduction of league tables and targets associated with funding led to mass corruption by SLT’s across the country ………..i.e. re-sits, grooming for exams, falsifying course work performances, falsifying student numbers, claiming for qualifications not actually completed in part or whole; this move to have ‘their own league tables’ will not address that key issue.

    Add in the corruption at exam board level which has been highlighted year on year PLUS the manipulating of progress scores for those students moving from junior to secondary education ….. the whole system is rotten from top to bottom.

    Scrap Ofsted as a total faillure. Scrap league tables and targets as counter productive nonsense. Seek out through criminal investigation SLT members who have actively interferred with data to secure better results and/or more funding, and prosecute them. Introduce a meaningful system of inspection which interrogates the management of education establishments and leave teachers to get on and focus on teaching.

  2. agree. by placing league tables directly in the hands of ofsted trained outstanding heads things might end up worse than before not better.

  3. The context of the whole school system is the need to prevent too many people from having a real understanding of the forces of modern society. In 1992, I took on a Year 9 private pupil who had been placed in a “Special Needs” group at school for Maths since Year 6! Shortly before the Easter break, his mother was told that he wouldn’t be entered for GCSE Maths because he had no chance of getting a pass – at Grade G! She asked me to help. In the first lesson, I discovered that he knew his times tables almost entirely – up to 12x, not 10x – and that he was proficient at mental arithmetic to the point of adding and subtracting three-digit numbers, including “carrying” operations. I tutored him for ten months only, having to move from the area for work, and heard from his mother that he’d achieved a Grade B.
    In 2002, I taught Maths to a top set Year 7 in a comprehensive school. A quiet and unobtrusive girl who had reasonable but modest predictions and whom I taught for that year only, obtained fourteen A*s at GCSE. When I congratulated her, she told me it was all thanks to me.
    “My” latest success is another Year 9 private pupil: she’d recently lost her mother, but her father couldn’t talk about it. Her predictions were for two Bs, two Ds, and the rest Cs. By Year 10 she was on the Gifted and Talented register, and her performance at a presentation evening (to which her father invited me) where the pupils were talking about their interests, showed her the clear winner with forty audience votes, compared to the runner-up score of twenty-five. On Thursday, she phoned me excitedly to tell me that she’d obtained two A*s, two Bs and the rest As! Confused and underperforming for her low predictions at the beginning of Year 9, she’d become an outstanding achiever by the end of Year 11.
    These are three cases isolated from a large number of stories of turning round children at all “levels of ability” and in all educational settings, including a secure unit and a PRU. My conclusion from my career is that children are trained to underperform by repeated put-downs and condescension. The very process of predicting grades is demeaning and purposeless. Added to this there are several more factors contributing to underperformance:
    *absurd attempts to teach reading and relatively sophisticated number skills to five-year-old children, whose cognitive development cannot yet have prepared them for compartmentalised learning (according to Piaget etc.);
    *mindless obsession with “good behaviour” at the expense of excitement and creativity;
    *labouring “learning objectives” instead of stimulating children to take control over their own learning;
    *reinforcing poor parenting by a lack of love and caring “in loco parentis” – using judgmentalism instead of emotional support;
    *prescribing and proscribing;
    *an almost total lack of acceptance and approval for those who need it most, in stark contrast to the appreciation shown to “well behaved children;
    *the abusive emotional deprivation of young children who have a physiological and emotional need for appropriate physical contact – all because heads and teachers are scared stiff of being accused of sexual harassment;
    *focussing children’s attention on their own gain from education, instead of on how they can feel useful members of society – the latter especially important to them when they’ve been told they’re “stupid”, “a waste of time”, and other equally derogatory labels which I’ve heard uncomfortably recently.
    My list could go on indefinitely – and readers of this may well think it was doing just that! The point is, I’ve never accepted anything I’ve been told about a school, a class, or a child (student …), because I don’t trust the judgment of anyone else, especially after my experience of turning individuals and classes around, even on a one-day supply assignment!

    So my message to teachers is to stop judging pupils, and respect the need of children to express their own unique individuality – then welcome it when they see it, with warmth and excitement. If enough teachers take this on board, their experience as teachers and their pupils’ experience of education will be enhanced beyond anything they might have expected or thought possible so far. Schools will become places of joy for pupils and teachers alike.

    There’s the challenge!

  4. Bravo!! You pretty much voice my sentiments, and echo some of my experiences, exactly! The focus needs to be returned to where it belongs – on the student, the teacher, and the subject -and kept there, and the interfering prescibers, proscribers, rankers and box tickers kept well out of it!

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