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Education Secretary John Patten today published consultation documents setting out the government's plans for this ...
Education Secretary John Patten today published consultation documents setting out the government's plans for this year's performance tables for schools and colleges.

It will be the biggest exercise of its kind ever undertaken, covering 4,000 state secondary schools, 19,000 primary schools and - for the first time - 2,000 independent schools. The tables will also cover 470 sixth form and FE colleges and 1400 special schools.

On the day a new report revealed worrying levels of illiteracy among students entering further education colleges, Education Secretary John Patten confirmed that tests in English and technology for 14 year olds will go ahead this summer.

Schools will be required to report the results to parents. The results will also be published as national totals.

Mr Patten said: 'This year's 14 year olds have been following the National Curriculum in English and technology now for three years. They and their parents are entitled to know what progress they have made. The tests will give them that information.

'I have carefully considered responses to our consultations on the publication of National Curriculum test results at school level and the points made by representative associations, groups of teachers and individual teachers I have met during school visits.

'I recognise the feelings of many of those involved that some schools need a year in order to get used to tests. I have therefore decided that in future test results will be included in performance tables from the second year of their introduction nationally'.

The full performance tables will give for each school and college: National Curriculum test results; GCSE, A level and AS examination results; vocational examination results; and truancy rates.

Mr Patten said: 'The response to the publication of performance tables last year showed quite clearly that there is enormous demand for information about what is going on in our schools and colleges. Nearly 1.2 million copies of the 1992 tables have been distributed.

'Our experience of publishing the examination tables in 1992 has suggested a number of developments to make the 1993 tables more comprehensive and reduce the demands made on schools and colleges.

'This year, I propose that all schools and colleges, including all independent schools, be included in three different sets of tables - primary, secondary, and 16-19. The details to be included will be much more extensive than before and will give parents and students the basic information they need to make sound choices'.

Mr Patten said: 'Parental choice, and parental monitoring of school and college performance, is an important means to raise standards. The consultation exercise launched today covers proposals to improve the information available to inform parental and student choice at three key stages in each child's education: entry to primary school, transfer to secondary school and continuation post-16.

'In deciding what information should be published, I have also been concerned to reflect this government's belief that there should be parity of esteem between vocational and academic qualifications of equal value. I wish to encourage more young people at 16 to continue in education and training, full time and part time, and to raise their levels of achievement. We also need to enhance our knowledge of the scale of the truancy problem, so that all involved - schools, parents and local education authorities - can combat it more effectively.

'The case for publishing performance tables has now been accepted on all sides. We will continue to build on our Parent's Charter commitment to provide more and better information to parents and students about the performance of schools and colleges.'

Publication of the primary and secondary tables will take place in late autumn 1993. The 16-19 tables will be published in early 1994.

For every primary school it is proposed that the tables will include: National Curriculum 7 year old test results in English, reading, mathematics and science; and truancy rates. The results of independent schools which have used the National Curriculum tests for 7 year olds will also be included.

For every secondary school it is proposed that the tables include: GCSE results; provisional information about entries and achievements in pre-16 RSA, City & Guilds and BTEC courses; A Level and AS examination results; provisional information about entries and passes in BTEC Nationals and the City & Guilds Diploma at national level; truancy rates; and the results of the National Curriculum tests of 14 year olds in mathematics and science.

The public examination results of all independent schools will also be included in the tables.

It is proposed that the performance tables for schools and colleges covering the 16-19 age group should include for each institution: A level and AS examination results; and information about entries and passes in BTEC Nationals and the City & Guilds Diploma at National level.

The intention is to extend the coverage of vocational qualifications in future years.

In response to concern expressed by a number of special schools about last year's tables the Secretary of State proposes that special schools should be put in a separate section of the primary and secondary tables.

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