Day 11 – Statistics & Bureaucrats

Statistics are nearly always a starting point for intelligent thought. Always beware when bureaucrats tell you something is “obvious” and show you a simple plot. They are not necessarily lying, they may just lack the intelligence to recognise the limits of their own abilities.

Bedford Borough are telling us that our children do much better at KS1 (age 7) than our statistical neighbours (SNs) then fall behind at KS2 (age 11) and don’t recover by KS4 (age 16).

Three problems.

1. They do not follow the same children through time and compare them – and nobody knows how many clever children are lost to the state system between KS1 and KS4 because the Harpur Trust have creamed them off by offering one of their many scholarships

2. Nobody has investigated whether Lower Schools are over-inflating KS1 results to make themselves look good. Remember, these are teacher-assessed and Lower Schools have a vested interest in making their teaching look highly effective

3. Statistical neighbours is part of a complex research methodology. It is constantly being updated and more than one set of neighbours exist for Bedford. One of our neighbours now according to one model is Northamptonshire. So…maybe they should compare themselves against us…maybe the conclusion should be that they change to three-tier?

The statistics here are not lies. They are being misused to support the unsupportable.

Talk/write to your local councillor about this. They can stop this chaotic change occurring.

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3 Responses to Day 11 – Statistics & Bureaucrats

  1. John Burness says:

    Was it Churchill who stated that there are:-
    “Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics”?

    “Selective-Quoting” of Stats are always going to be mis-leading!

  2. Andrew Hogg says:

    I have asked our MP and the Local Authority how Harpur Trust schools impact on the results of the state system.
    Neither have given an answer.
    The Harpur Trust boys schools currently have 23% boarders and the girls approx 18% in their total ppulation
    With 484 GCSE students between them (2006/7) and a 93% plus success rate they represent a significant proportion of the local school population
    No other authority in the country can boast so many independent schools per head of population and to find a statistical neighbour that reflects this is impossible
    If the trust did not exist many of these children would be in the state system and the overall performance of schools would be significantly higher than the recent good results already being recorded

  3. Fred Bagnall says:

    “No other” Are you sure?
    Windsor and Maidenhead?

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