Parents should ignore school league tables as they only give them ‘bragging rights’

The Telegraph, 18.04.16 HMC Chair Elect Mike Buchanan, Headmaster of leading independent Ashford School on why there are more important things to consider than league tables when choosing an independent school.

Mike Buchanan, chairman-elect of the the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC), which represents the country's most famous schools, said parents should visit the school to find out whether their child is suited for it.

Mr Buchanan, who is also headmaster of Ashford School, said choosing a good school is like buying a house and it should "feel right" upon visiting it.

Writing in Attain, he said: "Making the decision to invest in your child's education (...) combines a rational search of the possibilities with an emotional sense of feeling, underpinned with an image in your mind of how your child will grow within the school.

"It is the reason why schools often concentrate on making an emotional link with visitors; prospective parents get to meet both younger and older pupils so that they can picture how their child might, one day, turn into one of those articulate, charming and capable young people."

But, instead, he accused parents of using league tables just to acquire "bragging rights".

He said: "The tables may be interesting and provide a topic of conversation or bragging rights for some for a day or two, but they provide little of lasting value.

"And with more and more independent schools choosing to opt out of the tables, even their short term value needs to be seriously questioned."

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