Colin McGrath: Schools must put interests of pupils ahead of preserving league table standards

SDLP Education Spokesperson Colin McGrath has called on the Department of Education to collate statistics highlighting the number of pupils denied entry to sixth form, as well as those pupils who are prevented from progressing to the second year of their A-Levels as a direct result of the grades they receive.

Mr McGrath has hit out at schools who reject pupils with reasonable results so the school can achieve a better League table place, as opposed to putting the interests of the pupil first.

Colin McGrath: Schools must put interests of pupils ahead of preserving league table standardsThe MLA for South Down said:
“Tomorrow’s achievements will be the culmination of several years’ hard work and for many will be a day of celebration but it will also be a day of disappointment for some.

“However, while for many pupils they will regrettably have to explore other options, there will be a cohort, who despite still performing well, will be stopped from returning to school in September, because a number of institutions will place the value of where the school ranks in the league tables over the welfare of students.

“On a number of occasions I have heard from families where pupils have passed their exams but have nonetheless been denied entry to sixth form, or from AS to A2, on the basis that schools are trying to maintain their position in the league tables.

“Children and young people should be given every opportunity to progress in their education without the weight of academic snobbery bearing down on them. It is unacceptable that pupils who passed their exams are expected to repeat at the cost of the taxpayer or worse, are forced to find another school.

“It is unacceptable that the Department does not gather this data as this could be masking a stealthy and unfair practice by many schools, and I will continue to call on them to do so, to ensure schools participating in this unethical practice can be challenged.”