Commenting on a new report by Bristol University analysing the difference taking pupil background into account makes to secondary school league tables, Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of NAHT, and chair of its Accountability Commission, said:
“Test and examination results are only part of the picture when judging a school’s performance or a pupil’s success. A dip in results one year does not necessarily equate to a decline in school effectiveness as cohorts vary annually. Yet each year schools can find themselves propelled to the top or condemned to the bottom of a league table based on a single set of results. This is entirely wrong. We therefore encourage all parents to take these results with a pinch of salt when choosing a school for their child.
“Last year, our report Improving School Accountability set out proposals to create a fairer system for holding schools to account. In it we said that performance data should only ever be the starting point in a conversation about school standards and that comparing performance of schools serving similar communities would provide a more nuanced view of school effectiveness.
“We know the difference that great teaching has on enabling all children to achieve their potential, irrespective of starting points. Context matters. We need to level the playing field so that great teachers are recognised as such, irrespective of where they choose to teach.”
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