Attendance league tables will be ‘relief map of pandemic’

league tables

Ranking schools in league tables based on their attendance will just become a “relief map of the pandemic”, one head has warned.

The government announced this week that exam results will not be included in league tables this year.

It won’t be a league table, it’ll be a relief map of the pandemic

Instead, the department will publish performance tables to “provide a transparent set of information for parents” on subjects taken, destinations of pupils and attendance data.

But Nick Soar, executive principal of Harris Academy St John’s Wood in North London, said: “It won’t be a league table; it’ll be a relief map of the pandemic.”

Previous TeacherTapp data suggests schools in poorer areas are more likely to have lower attendance.

Loic Menzies, chief executive of the Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY), said a “heightened focus on attendance within league tables is a potential double blow for schools at the sharp end of Covid’s unequal impact on schools.”

Another academy trust leader said all the current problems with league tables based on results will now be “replicated – lack of contextual awareness, blunt measures and an insensitivity to school context. This measure will probably tell you more about a school’s community than its systems and success.”

Menzies also added that confusion over different attendance codes to record covid-linked absences this year will mean “parents will not be able to read next year’s league tables with any confidence in their validity or reliability”.

School exam data will be shared with Ofsted to help inform routine inspections when they resume. The data will also be made available to the Department for Education and schools themselves to “support improvement”.

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