School governors try to block tables

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The Independent Online
More than 1,000 school governing bodies have pledged to withhold the results of tests and assessments for 11-year-olds in an attempt to block primary school league tables.

The National Association of Head Teachers said it expected more to follow. It denied that the protest over the Government's U-turn on the tables had been a flop. The general secretary, David Hart, said the result of the union's survey amounted to a "substantial vote of no confidence by governors in the Government's policy".

The NAHT survey covered about 12,000 schools where children sat National Curriculum tests in May, and where it has members. Of the 3,436 who replied, 1,272 governing bodies said they would withhold results, 1,740 said they would not and 424 had yet to decide.

Many of those deciding tosubmit results had written to the NAHT making it clear they did so with reluctance, Mr Hart said.

Heads, teachers and governors were angered in February when the Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Shephard, announced that the Government would publish national performance tables of this year's 11-year-olds' tests in English, maths and science.

She had previously promised to wait until the tests - only in their second year - had "bedded down". She changed her mind after last year's results showed that only half of 11-year-olds had reached the expected standard in maths and English.

The Government believes "league tables" have helped to raise secondary school standards and Mrs Shephard said primary schools clearly needed the same stimulus. Mr Hart said the survey showed schools had "not been deceived by the Government's U-turn".