Wednesday, 1 October 2008

League tables delayed

Thousands of parents will be forced to choose primary schools for their children blindly because league tables have been delayed by the SATs marking debacle. Education officials have admitted that this year's primary school league tables will be published up to four months late.

The information is now scheduled for publication in March next year - beyond the deadline for expressing primary school preferences in most if not all local authority areas.

Parents will be forced to rely on last year's out-of-date information or ask individual schools for their 2008 exam scores. Even then, the scores will not have been weighted to take into account whether a school is improving children's standards between the ages of seven and 11.

The publication of tables has had to be pushed back after blunders and delays in the marking of English, maths and science SATs tests for 11-year-olds this summer, with some pupils still to receive their results.

Margaret Morrissey, of the lobby group Parents Outloud, described the situation as a 'major climbdown'. "Having built parents up to need and use these tables, they are left in a situation of having to manage without them at a time when they are making drastic decisions. Many parents will rely on this information, particularly first-time parents and those in large conurbations where there are lots of schools to choose from and you really need a little bit more information to understand what you are choosing.'

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said the tables would be published 'as soon as practically possible'.

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