Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum from the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (DFES 01)


  I thought it would be helpful if I clarified the facts about the leak of the Key Stage 2 results.

  The Key Stage 2 figures were due to be published on 18 September, a date which had been publicly pre-announced for some time. However when it was clear that the key figures had been published earlier by the Evening Standard, the Head of Profession for Statistics at the Department conferred with the National Statistician at the Office for National Statistics. Both decided that the figures should be released in a National Statistics First Release by the Department as soon as possible, and they were published on 14 September. This is in accordance with procedures agreed with the National Statistician for such situations and neither Ministers nor policy officials took this decision.

  Following the leak, the National Statistician wrote to the Department requesting that the Head of Profession for Statistics in DfES undertake a leak inquiry. This has been agreed with the Permanent Secretary, David Normington, and the inquiry is already being taken forward by the Department's Security Officer in conjunction with the Office for National Statistics. It will report in due course.


  I am clarifying the response I gave to the Committee about the timetable for introducing value added measures into performance tables.

  This year, we are piloting the calculation and publication of two separate value added measures for around 200 secondary schools. For those schools, we are measuring the progress each of their pupils makes in Key Stage 3 (that is, between the ages of 11 and 14) and in Key Stage 4 (between the ages of 14 and 16), in order to generate value added measures for the whole school for each key stage. Subject to the outcome of the pilot, we plan to introduce the same value added measures into the performance tables for all secondary schools next year. At the same time, we plan to publish in the tables an indicator of each school's overall performance in the Key Stage 3 tests, to underpin our commitment to driving up standards in this important phase of education.

  The calculation of value added measures requires us to compare an individual pupil's test or examination results in one year with their achievements at the end of the previous key stage. The earliest set of tests to which we can match back with confidence were those taken in 1998. We need to wait for the pupils who took tests in that year to reach the end of the next key stage before we can calculate how much progress they have made. That, combined with the need to pilot the measures before going live in performance tables, is what drives the timetable for introducing value added measures into the tables.

  Out timetable is:

        2002: Key Stage 3 (11-14) and Key Stage 4 (14-16) (piloted in 2001)

        2003: Key Stage 2 (7-11) (piloted in 2002)

        2004: Secondary (11-16) (piloted in 2003)

        2004: School and college (16-18) (piloted in 2003)

Estelle Morris

November 2001

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