Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Parents Left in Dark as Teachers' Boycott Distorts Sats Tables

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Parents Left in Dark as Teachers' Boycott Distorts Sats Tables

Article excerpt

Byline: Anna Davis and Peter Dominiczak

HUNDREDS of thousands of parents were left unable to assess the standard of their children's education today.

Almost one third of London schools have been left out of official league tables because their teachers boycotted the exams. It means more than 350,000 parents from almost 500 schools will not know how well their child's school is doing.

Teachers claimed victory for "frustrating" the tests, as experts criticised the tables. Sue Fieldman, London editor of the Good Schools Guide, said: "The tables are skewed this year because almost 500 schools in London did not take part. They are becoming more meaningless." The tables show that only 422,000 11-year-olds sat their exams nationally, compared with almost 580,000 last year. Schools staged a boycott of Sats last May, claiming the exams narrow the curriculum, ruin children's education and jeopardise head teachers' jobs. A government review is being carried out, and teachers have agreed to hold the tests this academic year.

Today's results show that 80 per cent of all 11-year-olds nationally reached level four in English, while 79 per cent did so in maths. They also show: Almost 10,000 London pupils did not pass basic English or basic maths.

In more than 100 London schools fewer than 60 per cent passed both English and maths.

Almost 1,000 primaries in England are classed as failing.

Ilderton primary in Southwark was the highest in the country for "adding value".

The results also show that children in London's schools fared better than those in much of the country, with 82 per cent passing English and 82 per cent passing maths, compared with 80 per cent and 79 per cent nationally.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said next year could be the last year the tests are held. Speaking about the boycott, he said: "Every parent wants to know if their child will be happy and successful at school. Our main argument is that league tables do not tell you that. …

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