School League Tables
We as parents are aware of the existence of so-called ‘League Tables’ and are given an overall view of what they are and what purpose they serve. But when it comes to finding a school for your child it is worth considering league tables as a means of making an informed choice?
What Are League TablesOriginally league tables were meant as a benchmark for schools to aim for giving them a means and a justification for making changes to their curriculum and also to how it was taught. But as the government has made significant changes to the National Curriculum in recent years, the emphasis on league tables has shifted to one of more importance.
League Tables – now referred to as School and Colleague Achievement & Attainment Tables – are used to measure the efficiency of schools in their teaching of the National Curriculum and also the level to which their students progress.These results are published annually by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and are also published in national newspapers as pullout supplements. These normally cover the United Kingdom – including Northern Ireland – and it is worth holding onto them if you should find them in your newspaper.
These tables are also used to measure how well children are doing at Key Stage level education and can be of significant benefit should you wish to place your child or children in a school with a high level of success in this area. They also cover GCSE and ‘A’ Level results and compare how schools have progressed year on year in their teaching of these subjects and equally how pupils have progressed in their taking of these subjects at examination level.
Changes to League TablesAs there have been sweeping changes in the schooling system in the United Kingdom, so to have there been changes to these league tables, and how they measure the performance of the schools included in them. The tables now include the pass marks and percentage of pass marks obtained in the schools and list in detail how they have risen or fallen in accordance with changes to the National Curriculum. They are also used as a measure of how the subjects taught are marked and adjudicated on at the examination marking stage and give both parents and teachers alike an indication of just how well their pupils and children are doing.
As the old system used to indicate these passes as A, B, C & D, the new system incorporates how these grades are measured and gives both pupils and parents the opportunity to see just how well their children did in order to achieve their final grades.
It is of course important to remember that these league tables are used as a means of determining which schools are improving and which are failing and with changes to the schooling system the league tables – or School and Colleague Achievement & Attainment Tables to give them their new title – also incorporate such factors as absenteeism, the addition of new subjects to the National Curriculum and the removal of subjects now no longer deemed appropriate under the National Curriculum.
That said they are still a good indicator as to which schools in your area offer a high standard of learning and subsequently can offer your child the opportunity to achieve the best possible examination grades when the time comes.