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How Important Are School League Tables?

Everything these days is rated and ranked and given a score. But does the score always reflect the true picture of performance especially when it is taken as an average with many factors involved.

Last week the League Table scores for my kids primary school were released, and I had previously believed that their school was one with a high rating and a good standing in Ripon. But looking at the league tables their school is one of the worst performers in the city. That’s not great!

But when I have looked into the league tables and then checked the level that my kids are working at, I am not too concerned as they are both above the averages. As I mentioned last week I have already arranged for a private tutor to come and spend an hour a week with my eldest son to help boost his literacy skills, but on the whole he is in the top set in his class for most things. The main thing for Miles is to regain some confidence and to understand how to do good comprehension for when it comes to the 11+ exams. My youngest son seems to do very well at everything, but as he moves up the school the work becomes harder and more challenging.

So do the league tables give any indication how well an individual child will perform? I can only hope that the kids will progress from their primary school with enough skills to do well at secondary school, but I just need to keep an eye on the situation and maybe push them that bit harder. Changing schools may be an option but I always think that when you move school that it can be really disruptive.

3 Comments

  • Kean

    I suppose an indication of a child’s performance is their own grades but even that is not standardised, especially in subjects that that aren’t like Maths; which has such clear right and wrong answers. So not only may different schools grade work slightly differently but individual teachers may too. A teachers impression or opinion about an individual child may also factor in. Can you be certain one child is graded to exactly the same standard as another or is it a case that all children are graded based on their work in comparison to the most intelligent in the school.

    At high school I always had heated discussions with the Art teacher over what I was doing. But surely once you get past whether you can draw or not Art becomes much more about personal likes and dislikes than something which can be graded A to E.

  • Stan

    Overall they do have some importance. However, if you have a selective school who are only allowing people who have passed exams (11+) then of course they will, on average, perform better than a school without selection.

    In essence it’s not just the quality of the school which has an effect on the league table position.

  • Carps

    I’m totally dreading having to concern myself with this stuff. The way I look at it, if a kid’s smart then they’re going to be able to get on at school in a way you can never translate into numbers.

    Every school has good kids.. bad kids… good teachers… bad teachers… etc etc and I think league tables tell us next to nothing. Take that business with the social services recently: they changed some metrics and all of a sudden a load of ‘excellent’ councils were rated ‘dreadful.’

    My dad’s a teacher and for the last few years all he’s done is gripe about how the job has turned into a function of ‘pass the tests to get a good rating.’

    So, I’m sure it’s a bit slothful of me, but I’m going on word of mouth and trusting to the kids to make of it what they will.