Hold your horses on that exam league tables achievement, Thomas Telford School

The academy in Shropshire boasted that 100 per cent of its students had obtained five A* to C grade passes in last summer's GCSEs. Unfortunately, it's not true, says Richard Garner
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Welcome to the bizarre world of exam league tables.

Among the missives from schools that came across my desk on league table day was one from Thomas Telford School, the former City Technology College and now academy in Shropshire, boasting that 100 per cent of its students had obtained five A* to C grade passes including maths and English in last summer's GCSEs – thus becoming the first all-ability state school in the country to achieve that figure.

Unfortunately, it's not true. Still very commendably, 99 per achieved those grade passes. However, if they had sat the exam the previous year, under the old, less "rigorous", marking system, they would have scored 100 per cent.

I have some sympathy for the kid or kids who failed to reach the benchmark – but I don't think this achievement will make the Guinness Book of Records.

Meanwhile, signs of an end-of- (Parliamentary) term atmosphere at the Commons select committee on education last week.

MPs were busy quizzing education standards watchdog Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw on his record on childcare service.

Sir Michael was at his most helpful but had to tell the MPs that his report on children's services would not be published until later on in the year. "We'll be long gone by then," mused Graham Stuart, the Conservative chairman of the committee.

They went on to grill Lorna Fitzjohn, one of the regional directors of Ofsted, on whether the relationship between Ofsted and the other arms of the education service was friendly or cordial. "We have regular meetings," she said enthusiastically. "I'm meeting with my ex-wife regularly but it doesn't mean to say it is a good relationship," bemoaned Craig Whittaker, Conservative MP for Calder Valley. "Our relationship is better than that," Ms Fitzjohn replied.