Wales’ example showing Scotland the way on school league tables claims education expert
Wales’ decision to restore school league tables should serve as an example to Scotland, according to an education expert.
Dr. Aveek Bhattacharya, who completed a PhD on school choice in England and Scotland, said that Wales offered a third way between a progressive Scotland and neoliberal England.
Scotland has scrapped league tables while the UK Government in England has actively encouraged parents to compare the best schools.
The Welsh Government abolished league tables in 2002 before reintroducing them in 2011, after academic analysis suggested that their abolition had a negative effect on student attainment.
“This story should give Scotland pause, and encourage it to look more closely at what it might learn from Wales,” Dr. Aveek Bhattacharya said in the Times Educational Supplement.
“Welsh league tables are carefully collated, using a range of indicators and contextual information – not just exam results, but also attendance rates, relative improvement and the proportion of students on free school meals. They are also averaged over three years to ensure that the data is more robust.”
His comments follow a row in Scotland after newspapers published their own league table of schools based on publicly available data.
Some parts of the country were left bruised after schools were placed lower down the league, with a Glasgow City Council spokesperson saying: “School league tables serve no purpose other than to cause division, sensationalism and upset to our staff, young people and families.”
Dr. Aveek Bhattacharya said that the fact that newspapers were collating their own league tables was an argument for national governments publishing their own
“[The] Scottish government decision to leave league tables to the newspapers means they cannot do anything to stop them using crude or unfair measures,” he said.
“The genie is out of the bottle – and it’s not clear that we best are served trying to stuff it back in.”