The full discussion is here , with my question down at times 14.02 to 14.05. The accompanying photo, captioned http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/live_debate/article7012253.ece is reproduced here — does he look shocked at the quality of the question?
The edited sequence goes like this:
14.02 Sarah Ebner:So, I had asked him about the huge pressure that the government and Ofsted puts, often unfairly, on schools in difficult circumstances, distorting their priorities, and he answers an imaginary question about league tables!
This is another point which comes up often on the blog. Glen asks: why persist with judgements of schools based on raw percentages of students achieving 5 grade C GCSEs? It penalises schools serving deprived areas - schools which need a hand up, not a kicking. It also pressurises schools to focus on grade D students, and encourages entries into easier ICT online courses and such like.
14.05 Ed Balls:
Sarah, you are completely right and so is Glen, as parents we all have to look at the current league table and try to work out what they really mean on the basis of what we know about the school itself, the catchment area etc. And league tables can sometimes suggest schools are 'high achieving' when they actually do a poor job at raising standards and supporting progression. Our new Report Card is designed to give parents much more information - about raw results but also whether all children make progress, discipline, parent satisfaction etc. I think it will be much fairer and more informative - it will be in all schools over the next 2 years.
OK, he did that to all of the questions, but then why did he bother to travel to the Times offices, just to act as if he were in the House of Commons (not) answering questions put to him there?