Independents pull out of ‘irrelevant’ league tables

IE Today, 02.02.16, Wellington College joins schools no longer participating in performance tables that do not take into account wider factors. HMC member Julian Thomas, headmaster of leading independent Wellington College is quoted.

Wellington College has announced its plans to withdraw from newspaper school league tables, in order to allow the school to concentrate on teaching and learning.

Headmaster Julian Thomas told the Telegraph: “Schools, driven by the need to hit targets, satisfy stakeholders and compare well with their competitors, are often tempted to withdraw to the safest and easiest method of achieving good grades – “teaching to the test”. Worse still, there is often a temptation to make educational decisions, which maximise grades at the expense of the students’ best interests.

“All of which makes the school league table – at least in its current form - much worse than an unnecessary distraction but, in fact, a key driver for poor educational practice.”

Wellington will continue to make data available on their website for interested parents.

Speaking exclusively to IE Today, a spokesperson at ISC said: “Exam results can be an important measure of school achievement, but are certainly not the only one. There have long been independent schools which do not wish to appear in league tables published by newspapers after August exam results.

“DfE school performance tables, which are published each year in January, tend to be broader and include a measure of progress, or ‘value added’. This measure shows that some schools low down in the league tables are achieving brilliant results for their pupils.

“There are also many great things about schools – including activities in the arts, sport, community service and character development - which simply cannot be measured.”

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