Irish Times

Bet the unions won’t support changes like this to improve education

The UK is in a similar position to NZ in the latest PISA rankings in education.

While our teacher unions oppose every move to improve things the UK is busy implementing changes that evidence shows is helping. Like the publishing of League Tables, something that teacher union oppose the world over.

The Irish Times explores league tables:

What if official school league tables have been shown to improve the performance of schools and lessen educational inequality? What if school league tables are good for education?

Well three years ago a research paper with precisely those findings made waves across the water in the UK.

England and Wales have very similar education systems. Between 1992 and 2001, both English and Welsh systems published annual school performance tables, based on GCSE (Junior Cert level) exam results. But then, in 2001, the Welsh parliament voted to stop.

Here was a natural experiment between two identical systems, one of which now lacked a key component of accountability: the official school league table. Researchers at Bristol university, led by Prof Simon Burgess, decided to look at what happened next.

The result, according to their findings, was ?systematic, significant and robust? evidence that abolishing school league tables reduced the academic effectiveness of Welsh schools.? Read more »