Opinion Former Article

NUT on GCSE league tables

Commenting on today's league tables from the DCSF, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said;

"The NUT echoes Vernon Coaker's congratulations to pupils and their teachers for the improvements in exam results. The figures show that secondary schools really are making a fundamental and positive difference to young people's lives, particularly those from deprived backgrounds. This is a picture of a successful comprehensive education system. Nevertheless, the improvement is undermined by the fact that the results appear in wholly invidious league tables.

"The latest select committee report thoroughly condemned the use of school performance tables. They were right to highlight the contradiction which commonly appears whereby it is possible to be high on the league table yet have an unsatisfactory Ofsted report, and vice versa. Schools feel coerced and constrained by the rigid measures such as the minimum target of 5 A* - C at GCSE, and the focus on moving young people across that particular borderline.

"Pupils who may do very well but not hit that particular target are automatically deemed comparative failures, and as such their undoubted achievements are belittled. Young people are not automatic failures if they fall short of achieving grade C. They may have done wonders to achieve a grade D but that achievement is written off.

"Vernon Coaker really ought to decline to get into the murky assertions that somehow, just because schools have been designated Academies, they automatically lead to the greatest improvements in examination results when there is no clear evidence that this is the case.

END

For further details contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061

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