Education Eye: Beware school league tables

Catherine Stoker
Catherine Stoker

Last week saw the publication of the latest senior school league tables.

We’re all familiar with the format ranking each school’s performance at GCSE and A level, so parents can supposedly compare the merits of one school with another, when mulling over future school choices.

Of course the results of these exams play an important part of evaluating the success of a school.

However parents should remember that there’s so much more to the educational programme of a school than simply past exam results.

In terms of league table position, one should review carefully the admissions criteria for entry to the schools you are considering.

Highly competitive schools, which admit only the brightest of the numerous applicants, should be delivering top examination results. Better than that in my opinion, are the schools which are less academically selective in their admissions process, but still achieve top grades in exams, since these would appear to have delivered beyond expectation, rather than simply meeting it.

League tables should be only be a teeny tiny part of the long list of factors to consider when compiling your potential senior school shortlist. Education is not just about examination results, it’s also about:

>Offering individual support to every child so they attain their unique potential in a whole range of curriculum areas, at whatever level that may be.

>Developing the ability to think for oneself, challenge and question.

>Developing communication skills, confidence and independence.

>Developing a sense of community and awareness of others.

>Engaging in diverse experiences to find new hobbies and interests.

Many successes are achieved in schools, quite apart from great exam results. Sport, drama, art, music, public speaking, design and technology, Young Enterprise, Duke of Edinburgh, to name but a few. These should be taken into account as proof of success in delivering all-round education is so important.