Attainment gap widens in England as it HALVES in Scotland, but Sarah Smith lies again

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On Politics Live yesterday, in the context of the Mackay debacle, Sarah Smith slipped in a wee fib about school standards slipping in Scotland. It’s a favourite Tory myth of course but in the Guardian yesterday, suggested by our Education Correspondent for February 2020, bigjon999, we read about English schools:

breakdown of GCSE results issued by the Department for Education (DfE) showed the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others increased for the second year in a row. The introduction of tougher exams appears to have halted the improvement seen in previous years. Just 456 of the 143,000 pupils classed as disadvantaged by the DfE achieved top grade 9s in English and maths last summer, compared with 6,132 out of 398,000 other pupils.

Meanwhile, in Scottish schools, but never to be mentioned by Sarah Smith, the gap is closing. See:

‘94.4% of pupils had a ’positive destination’ including work, training or further study within three months of leaving school last year, official statistics show. The figures also reveal that the gap between those from the most and least deprived communities achieving a positive destination has halved since 2009/10, with an increase in positive destinations for school leavers, from both backgrounds. Over the same period there have been increases at all levels of attainment – the qualifications young people are achieving. For the first time more than 30% of pupils left school with a minimum of five passes at Higher Level or better, up from 22.2% in 2009/10. The gap between those from the most and least deprived areas achieving a pass at Higher Level or better is now at a record low, reducing for the eighth successive year.’

Published by johnrobertson834

Retired Professor of Media Politics Not-for-profit independent political analysis

3 thoughts on “Attainment gap widens in England as it HALVES in Scotland, but Sarah Smith lies again

  1. When we regain our independence, people like the Hon Sarah want to position themselves on the “right” side of the border. Hint–it wont be on our side.
    You can already see it with her work on the Radio 4 morning news, which like most BBC only reports English news and stats—or invent “Scottish” stats to make us look bad.
    There is never any direct comparisons or context.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. By chance, I happened to be in the same location as a Labour Party event during the recent General Election. When I arrived at the place where I sometimes undertake voluntary work, I could hardly get in because of the congestion due to the number of media vehicles and media people. All of the faces we see on the Scottish and UK News bulletin reports were there. Although the BBC had the full complement of those who usually do the BBC Scotland reporting, Ms Smith was there, too.

    When the Labour campaign bus arrived, most of the reporters remained inside leaving the camera people to film and take photos. However, Ms Smith was at the front at the foot of the steps of the bus, and as the various Labour people descended, she greeted them with embraces and took a number of selfie-type photos with her phone.

    She was clearly among friends, which is not surprising given her late father’s long career in the Labour Party and her mother’s continuing involvement. There is absolutely nothing wrong with such friendships and warmth, indeed, it shows a human side.

    However, it raises a question about why she was there and in what capacity. Was she there in a personal capacity? If so, that is completely acceptable? But, if she was there in a BBC capacity, especially as the BBC had a significant presence there already, we are entitled to ask why. Given the cordiality of her relationships with many of the Labour team present, is she able to give a balanced and impartial report?

    If, as you show above she has reported something false, and which is obviously false, and since this is not an isolated occurrence, then, I think her objectivity and that of her organisation is compromised.

    Liked by 1 person

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