The Lib Dem’s plans to divide league tables up so middle class dominated schools are ‘shown up’ more when they are ‘failing’ is hardly going to help improve the quality of state education. I oppose league tables anyway: they encourage schools to use selection and exclusionary practices so that they ‘look’ better, but when in reality there are substantial issues of inequality and discrimination. These policies will not help the state sector improve, it will just lead to more schools preventing children taking GCSE’s (etc.) because of their class status, race, gender or whatever. It will just increase the inequalities within the school system, that are cleverly hidden under the existing league tables.
It promotes a ‘you’ and ‘them’ attitude, with the BBC describing the proposals as the equivalent to football league divisions. It will, as many have rightly claimed, lead to labelling of schools – as schools will be categorised into ‘poor’ vs. ‘rich’ schools. This will only further undermine the attempts to try to reduce the discrimination in university applications – universities would be able to use these tables to judge with even more detail what ‘type’ of school you came from.
Separate league tables will create more divisions between the schools, where schools within the ‘poor’ and ‘rich’ league tables start competing more with each other to be the ‘best’. This whole market ethos is so wrong when we are talking about education. There should be a move to creating a more universal standard of education, not a move to segregate schools that are supposed to have a certain ‘background’. It will not help improve the state education quality, it will just add to the already existent discrimination and elitism that exists in the schooling system.
For once, the Lib Dems are actually incorrect when talking about equality and education, these proposals will not help with the much-needed improvement of the state system – it will only further inequality and exclusionary practices.