Scrap league tables, says leading head

A LEADING head teacher has called on the Government to follow the example of some of best performing countries abroad by scrapping league tables.

Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, warned that placing so much importance on the testing of pupils actually undermined the assessments being carried out.

He said: “If we look abroad, to those countries which perform well in the international PISA tables for example, we find no league tables. In fact, they look in horror at what they regard as a crude and primitive approach to managing England’s schools.

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“The Government is consulting on new floor standards. It should learn the lessons of the past and of successful countries – school performance is a judgment not a statistic; progress matters as much as attainment; high stakes accountability destroys the integrity of the assessments used to inform it.”

He said relying on league tables based on a “few short tests in a small number of subjects” was a terribly blinkered approach, adding: “There is more to a child’s development and their readiness for secondary school than their score in a flawed test. There is more to a school than their ranking, which conceals how hard the school must work to achieve its results.”

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “We agree that it is vital for schools to focus on reading, writing and maths, but in the relentless push to get 60 per cent of students to level four in these subjects, other important areas of the curriculum such as art, music and PE get sidelined. Primary education should not be solely about getting children ‘secondary school ready’.”