Leading Article: More league lunacy

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The Independent Online

Arguments may still rage over whether the Government should be publishing its league tables of primary and secondary schools. But one thing is certain – if publication is to continue, it is in ministers' interests to ensure that the tables are as readable and concise as possible so that parents can understand them.

In previous years, readers would have been able to see the secondary tables today in our Education supplement – and we would have been given the data under embargo six days in advance to prepare our analysis. Now, however, as a result of new government legislation designed to stop speculation over government statistics before publication, nothing can be issued to the media more than 24 hours before publication – an extraordinarily inflexible schedule for compiling the kind of tables we have done in the past.

We are lucky that the 24 hours expires at 9.30am today, allowing us more time to produce a proper analysis for tomorrow's paper. National newspapers and the BBC have joined in protesting about the change and the Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, has taken account of our complaints. Let us hope this can be sorted out properly before the publication of next year's tables.