Primary heads speak out over league tables

THE HEAD teacher at one of the borough s top performing primary schools has hit out at the SATs league tables, calling them a narrow measure of a school s success. Mandy Short, head of William Ford Primary School, in Ford Road, Dagenham, says the results

THE HEAD teacher at one of the borough's top performing primary schools has hit out at the SATs league tables, calling them a narrow measure of a school's success.

Mandy Short, head of William Ford Primary School, in Ford Road, Dagenham, says the results can be misleading and to publish them can have a detrimental effect on a school.

The league tables, revealed last week, show the percentage of 11-year-olds who achieved a level four or above in English, Science and Maths in Key Stage Two tests taken last summer.

William Ford received the second highest average point score out of the borough's 34 schools. St Theresa's Catholic School, in Bowes Road, Dagenham came top.


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The Leys Primary School, in Leys Avenue, Dagenham got the poorest score in the borough, with less than half the pupils achieving a level four in Maths and English.

Mrs Short said she was pleased her pupils did well but added: "The results are a very narrow measure of a school's success and therefore an unfair way of judging them."

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"You have to look closer at each individual school to see how they are really doing - and not just in Maths, English and Science, but in other areas as well."

Mrs Short believes publishing these SAT results can have a "hugely damaging" effect on the reputation of schools which end up towards the bottom of the table.

Her comments were echoed by Natalie Sanchez, a teacher at Marsh Green Primary School, in South Close, Dagenham.

She told the POST: "I don't agree with the results being published.

"The schools shouldn't be compared to one another.

"Especially as each school is affected by different factors which can have an impact on the results.

"We, for example, have a lot of pupils who have recently moved to the country and are struggling with the language."

Teaching unions across the country are putting pressure on government to scrap the Key Stage Two SATs altogether.

Ministers abolished Key Stage 3 SATs last summer after a marking fiasco.

But both Mrs Short and Mrs Sanchez believe the testing can be a useful tool.

Mrs Sanchez said: "I think the tests are a good way of monitoring the pupils' progress. I know it can be stressful for some of the children, especially as they're not getting help at home, but most actually enjoy being tested."

The borough came 112th in a table showing the aggregate test scores of all 150 local authorities in the country.

Parsloes Primary School, in Spurling Road, Dagenham was named in the top 200 UK schools whose pupils have made the most progress since they took their first set of assessments in 2005.

A council spokesperson said: "Once again our pupils have achieved great results at Key Stage Two.

"We are aiming to achieve even better results next time.

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