Letter: School tests threaten poorer communities

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The Independent Online
Sir: Roger Graef's article on 'difficult' children ('Tests that condemn life's losers', 18 May) makes no mention of the long-term impact of crude performance indicators ('league tables') on 'difficult' or deprived communities.

With surplus places for pupils in many areas, those parents who can afford the transport will send their children to school out of their area to avoid a school that is low in the league table (for SATS, GCSEs, attendance, exclusions, etc). Schools serving deprived communities - many doing an excellent job, against all the odds, in terms of the value they add - will have fewer students, fewer resources and be less able to survive. Many will close.

The outcome will be greater deprivation. Disadvantaged communities will lose their community school. Alienation will increase further, and more children will be excluded from real life chances. 'Value added' indicators would probably counter this trend and are the only defensible kind of success criteria.

Yours sincerely,

ROGER PASK

Headteacher

Colton Hills School

Wolverhampton

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