Tory call to replace league tables with ‘points system’

By Ian Dunt

The Tories want school league tables to be replaced by a points system which would weigh traditional academic subjects over those seen as easier, like media studies.

In a set of proposals presented by shadow education secretary Michael Gove, the party shrugged off the reliance on a league table system, which ranks schools on the proportion of pupils scoring grade C or above at GCSE level.

The party added that it is inappropriate to treat an A is physics as an equivalent to an A in media studies, because the latter is considered an easier subject.

The points system would weight certain subjects with more points, to reflect what is seen as their academic difficulty.

But education ministers say the subjects are already “rigorously” measured against each other.

“The truly brighter students aren’t being stretched because there’s no emphasis on getting people from a B to an A or an A to an A*,” Mr Gove told Andrew Marr yesterday.

“And what’s even worse in my view is that those weaker students, who could really benefit from extra care and attention aren’t focused on either.”

Vocational qualifications would also be dropped from qualification in league tables, effectively scrapping the government’s new diploma.

“We believe that it’s right that there should be something closer to a points system so that there are set number of points for an A*, fewer for an A and so on,” Mr Gove added.

“So that the effort of all is rewarded and schools genuinely get credited and recognised for doing well.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Schools, Families and Children said: “We simply don’t recognise the labels ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ A-levels – all subjects are rigorously measured against each other to maintain standards, overseen by Ofqual.

“Take-up in science and maths A-levels is continuing to rise and schools are also offering a much broader range of qualifications – including the diploma.”

The government is already formulating plans to replace the league tables with an overall grade for each school which includes a more holistic impression of the institution, including pupil behaviour.

League tables have been scrapped in every other part of the UK apart from England.