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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr David Bolden

Easen, P. & Bolden, D. (2005). Location, location, location: what do league tables really tell us about primary schools? Education 3-13 33(3): 49-57.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper examines the use of 'league tables', based upon 'performance data', by the government to distinguish between primary schools. Date concerning one Northern Local Education Authority, were analysed. It was found that the position of a school in the League Tables of unadjusted scores tended to reflect the background characteristics, in particular the socio-economic status (SES), of its pupil population. Furthermore, the 'value-added' measure whilest enhancing our understanding of the differences between schools does not do so in a way that sufficiently takes into account the background factors influencing pupils performance. Currently the League Tables present a simplistic, even potentially misleading picture of primary schools.