Testing times for local schools

Summer holidays are an anxious time for Islington students awaiting their exam results.

For individuals & families, it’s about their futures; for schools and policy-makers it’s increasingly about the performance tables. Thanks to the government’s target culture, even primary schools are now part of the this too, with SATs results to add to the number-crunching. As a school governor, I know what an impact this has.

The Key Stage 2 (11 year olds) test results are out this week and the good news is that they show Islington schools are improving far faster than the national rate. Nationally, results in English, maths and science improved by only one per cent — but Islington’s improvement was six times better than that in maths and science, and three times better in English.

In primary school rankings, our borough has moved from 144th out of 150 nationally last year, to 122nd out of 150 this year. We are on the Inner London average for primary schools overall, and above the Inner London average for Maths and Science. Islington is also one of the top 15 Local Authorities in England that have seen their results improve the most between 2006 and 2007. So it should be smiles all round.

Sadly, Labour’s reaction to the news that Islington’s primary schools are amongst the country’s most improved has been typically partisan. First their spokesman Cllr Richard Watts said that Islington’s schools are great thanks to the Labour Government, but then immediately says that Islington’s schools are poor thanks to Islington Council.

Labour want to take credit for every good thing that happens in the world, but also to bash the Lib Dems and the council at any opportunity. They would clearly like us to forget that under Labour, Islington’s schools were at the bottom of the league.

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