Commenting on the Government's decision on school performance tables, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“Even in a normal year to attempt use qualifications results to put schools and colleges in league tables is a dangerously inaccurate use of statistics: whilst qualifications are important, they are designed to measure the attainment of individuals and not the quality of teaching and learning that took place at an institution. Context, which is non-existent in these tables, is key and whilst qualifications are important for the individual, schools and colleges are about so much more than the results achieved on one particular day in a set of tests or exams.
'However, it is even more farcical to suggest that there can be any kind of meaningful measure of educational quality derived from the results of next summer’s exams. Due to the pandemic, they will quite clearly be heavily impacted by the differing experiences students have faced across the country and the situation across different schools and colleges simply will not be in any way comparable.
'The Government's decision on primary assessment, based on confused reasoning, will be just as damaging to schools. Although league tables will not be published, test results will still be used for accountability purposes, not least by Ofsted. This means that the pressures of high-stakes testing will be reintroduced - and felt by pupils - at the very time when a different, recovery-based approach to education is needed.
'The continued mistreatment of education professionals brings shame on this Government. Its decisions, including this one, will come as a sore disappointment to all those who have been working in very difficult conditions to keep educational provision going throughout the last year or more.”