SECONDARY SCHOOLS LEAGUE TABLES: TABLES OUT OF ORDER; Head Defends the Efforts of City's Deprived Areas

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Byline: BY TONY COLLINS EDUCATION CORRESPONDENT

A CITY head teacher today hit back at the use of national league tables after his secondary school came bottom of the pile in England based on the performance of the nation's 14-year-olds.

St Alban's Church of England School in Angelina Street, Highgate, finds itself propping up the rest of the country in the 2004 Key Stage 3 test performance tables, which were published for only the second time todayThe results were carried over into 2005 because of problems nationally over marking of English papers.

St Alban's pupils achieved an average points score of just 26.2 based on classroom tests in the three core subjects of Englishmaths and science. This is calculated on a sliding points scale ranging from 21 for Level 3 results up to 45 for Level 7.

Pupils are expected to reach Level 5 or 6 by the age of 14 or the end of Key Stage 3.

But St Alban's head teacher David Gould criticised the use of bare league tables to compare the results of schools from totally different backgrounds.

He said: ``Fifty per cent of our children don't speak English as a first language and we have 37 different first languages among our pupils.

``This is a deprived area and it is a point of first arrival for many people who come here from abroad. It's where a lot of peoplestart off from. But, as a result of this turbulence, we have a 35 per cent turnover of pupils at Key Stage 3 which is very difficult to cope with.''

Mr Gould said publishing the ``raw data'' would be disheartening to their pupils and not give them confidence to succeed at GCSE level``A true measure is value added which measures the progress which children make from the time they come here at the age of 11,'' he added.

``In that regard, we are very proud of what we are doing. …