In what is a fairly peculiar initiative, an alternative and independent school league table has been launched by a partnership of school leaders associations and an academy chain. The School Performance Tables were launched by United Learning, the Association of School and College Leaders, the National Association of Head Teachers and PiXL – a cross between a school leader professional association and an education consultancy.
The alternative school league table has been produced on the basis that current league tables are “too crude” and focus too much on the overhyped “C-D borderline” (currently schools are ranked by how many pupils achieve a C Grade at GCSE). The reason why the announcement is peculiar, is that the Government has recognised the “C-D” problem and are introducing widely welcome new measures to hold schools to account by league tables – which will be in place from September 2016 (with some schools able to opt in from September 2015).
Since schools will have to opt-in to this alternative league, it could take at least two years before enough schools have signed up to make it effective – by which time the new Government tables will be in place. Perhaps an independent optional league table could compliment the Government’s statutory system. However I suspect only schools that achieve a good set of GCSE results will want to sign up to this version, as its focus is simply on overall academic performance, rather than the Government’s plans to rank performance in key subjects and pupil progress in those subjects. This in effect could become an elitist league table…
Competition between schools has been proven to improve performance. But competition between the leagues that rank them is simply confusing for all involved – not least the parents that these tables are aimed act.
… I nearly went with a sporting metaphor to describe the situation, but it’s not quite on the scale of this Great Schism.