11/01/07 Good news but Remember


09:45 – 11 January 2007
With the start 2007 I, like many others, have been thinking back over last year – its good and its not so good.

I was reflecting on how well the local primary school in Fiskerton had done, but I was reminded of one of the not-so-good things in 2006.

Although Fiskerton Primary School had achieved the highest Value-Added score for attainment in all Lincolnshire, and was in the top five per cent in England, it did not appear in the published ‘league’ tables. The reason was that the school has fewer than 10 pupils in their final year, an arbitrary cut-off which has relevance to neither ability nor teaching competence! I have no doubt that I’ll be told of reasons why that is; things to do with statistical variances, distribution curves and probabilities and that the lower the number of pupils, the more effect one pupil can have on results. All of which is true but we are not looking at statistics (which need to look at a wide range of data) but actual attainment of a set of pupils in a school teaching environment. These figures show how they have improved and achieved.

In the case of Fiskerton Primary School, it showed that those pupils did well. They did well because they worked hard and because of the dedication and skills of the teaching staff.

The fact is that the published figures are misleading! They do not indicate the best and the worst but the best and the worst of an artificial sub-set and thus deny parents the facility of easily identifying the school they would prefer to send their children to. It is not true to claim that the full set of figures would be confusing to parents.

Parents are interested in what happens to their children, usually they are at an age where their ability to think logically is peaking and they are intelligent. If interested adults can make sense of league and form tables as diverse as football and formula one, parents can find out what the full information means for their child or children.

Well done, Fiskerton Primary School – the best in Lincolnshire!