Private schools boycott 'meaningless' league tables

Leading independent schools are boycotting A-level and GCSE examination league tables this year, claiming that they have become increasingly "meaningless".

Four schools which have topped the independent schools table in recent years are among nearly 50 that are refusing to supply their examination results. They are Winchester, St Paul's in London, Sevenoaks and world-renowned Eton College.

Representatives of the schools say they have led the boycott because they "have nothing to fear from the tables".

The Independent Schools Council, which represents the majority of fee-paying schools, is to publish A-level results on Saturday. The GCSE results will be published the following weekend.

The school which headed the independent schools' A-level exams league table is to boycott it this year. Sevenoaks, which is one of a handful of schools where all pupils do the International Baccalaureate, topped the A-level table last year. The exam is considered by many university admissions tutors to offer pupils a broader sixth-form curriculum and be more likely to stretch them than A-levels.

Martin Stephen, high master of St Paul's, said the tables did not compare "like with like". They encouraged teachers to "teach to the exam" and therefore ignore independent learning to inflate their position. "The league tables have rather subtly injected a kind of poison into the education system," he added.

The schools will still ensure prospective parents can access their results. Dr Stephen said that – once appeals against grades had been completed – they would be posted on its website in November and included in school literature.

Graham Lacey, deputy head (academic) at Sevenoaks, said the tables would be "misleading" because of the increasing spread of qualifications offered at both GCSE and A-level.

In addition, the early publication date of the independent schools' table meant that it could not take re-marks into account.

"In one subject at GCSE we believe we have had a rogue assessment – which means our results would be considerably less good than they will be in three or four weeks' time when they have been re-marked," he said. "In general, I think they are highly suspect and not comparing like with like. The league table era is on its way out."

The spread of qualifications has led to schools offering A-levels or the IB or a mixture of the two at present. From September, they could also offer the Government's new diplomas or the Cambridge Pre-U. At GCSE level, increasing numbers of schools are offering the International GCSE – which is devised along the lines of the old O-level with no coursework – because they believe that it will stretch their pupils and prepare them better for A-level work.

"The success and influence of league tables up to this point have depended on a largely uniform system of public exams and qualifications," Mr Lacey said. "Cracks are now appearing in that monolithic age."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£30000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An independent boys' school sit...

Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate - Newly Qualified Teachers Required For Sept 2015

£21000 - £50000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate Teachers/ Newly Qua...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required for a 'Good@ school - Ofsted 2015

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: My client primary school loc...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teachers Required in Norwich and Great Yarmouth

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am working on behalf of a ...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map