Primary school league tables could see over 900 closed or taken over
by Jessica Shepherd
Government says primaries where pupils failed basic standard in maths and English face becoming academies or closing. Almost 1,000 primary schools in England could be closed or taken over for failing to reach new government standards in maths and English and not making enough progress in either subject, primary school league tables published today show.
The tables, compiled from government statistics, reveal that in 962 primaries, fewer than 60% of pupils can write a proper sentence using commas or tackle basic arithmetic in their heads by the time they leave – the standard expected of their age group.
It remains to be seen how skewed the results actually are, as approximately a quarter of primary schools opted to boycotted the SATs, in protest at the way in which the league tables are used to ‘punish’ schools. As it is already difficult to recruit quality staff to challenging schools, how will this impact on future recruitment? Will enthusiastic leaders be given the chance (and more importantly the time!) to make a difference in schools?
Surely the purpose of data such as the SATs results is for schools to identify areas for development themselves – does the information really have to be shared? Recent articles have highlighted educational systems where other countries are out-performing England – most have a similar theme running through them, where league tables are not used and the data is kept within the school for developmental action. So why make all the changes proposed in the White Paper, then keep the outdated league tables??