Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Closed schools: Is it the fault of league tables?

I can remember having several days off school because the teachers were on strike (well, it was the 1970s) and one blissful summer day when we were turned back at the gates because the school had no water supply. But I can never remember having a day off school because it had snowed.

Which suggests to me that those folk memories of wading through snow drifts to get to school in the bitter winters of 1946/7 and 1962/3 may have something in them.

Why were so many schools closed earlier this week when the weather conditions were not that extreme?

The Daily Mail blames "health and safety". Others will point to our general wimpishness these days. But is it all the fault of school league tables?

Someone at work today suggested an interesting theory. If a school remains open in the snow and a proportion of parents are unwilling or unable to send their children to school, does this count as unauthorised absence in the league tables?

If it does, then it makes the figures look much better if the head closes the school altogether. Does anyone know if there is anything in this?

In a sensible world, of course, you would keep the schools open if at all possible and leave it to the good sense of parents to decide whether it is safe for their children to attend or not.

But then we no longer live in a sensible world.

3 comments:

Phil said...

I think that you should look to the proportion of school teachers who live a long way from their place of employment for an explanation.

Jock Coats said...

I can remember at half term in Lent term of 1979 (I think) having to dig our way out of school - we had a half mile long drive, and the had to clear it to get our bread supplies - I think it was also the year of the bread strike.

Peter Black said...

Well they have closed all the schools in Powys today and Wales abandoned league tables years ago. There is always one outlier isnt there?