One million readers, our all time top ten

Henry Stewart's picture

At the end of last year the Local Schools Network website passed one million unique viewers, in the years since our launch. Here are our top ten articles over that six year period. Click on the headlines to see the originals.

1) DfE confirms: the schools Gove said he visited don't exist

It is no surprise that Gove got on so well with Donald Trump, as both share a love of "alternative facts". One of this site's innocent pleasures used to be finding how many fibs we could spot each time Gove opened his mouth. My colleague Janet once found ten falsehoods or exaggerations in a single Gove speech. This article,  about Gove's false claim to have visited primaries with high levels of special needs - but where every child achieves the national target - is our most read, with over 120,000 views.

2) Five reasons why Media Studies is a great subject

Yes, our second most popular article is about the joys of the much maligned media studies. First published in 2010, this has remained consistently in the top ten most read posts each and every month for at least the last two years.  

3) Ofsted reveals that a school is six times as likely to remain inadequate if it becomes a sponsored academy

Of all my articles comparing the performance of maintained schools and sponsored academies, this is the most popular and the only one to make it into the top ten.

 Is it the added credibility of Ofsted being the source or simply the stark difference, showing how much more likely schools are to improve if they stay in the maintained sector?

4) Local parents protest against the unfairness of grammar schools in Berkshire and might force them to become non-selective

With hindsight, this may have been optimistic. But it is one of many posts over the years about local school campaigns. 

5) The data on level 5 conversion to GCSE grades

This is the first of three articles in the top ten that are about pupil data. This ones shows the big difference between the likelihood of level 5 pupils achieving an A at GCSE, depending on whether they got 5c, 5b or 5a at Key Stage 2.

6) Eleven grammar school myths and the actual facts

Although written in 2015, this was the most read article on LSN in 2016. This is perhaps unsurprising given Theresa May's proposal of more grammar schools - against all the evidence in the summer. 

7) Making expected progress is a deeply flawed measure

There are actually two posts in the top ten on the absurd "3 levels of progress" measure. I hope that this indicates it is not just an obsession for me, but that many see the bias in it, and recognise it as an absurd way to measure progress in schools. 

8) Did Ofsted censure a school because it was too white?

The answer is of course "no". Janet Downs showed that the Telegraph claim that Ofsted did this is not backed up by the actual report.

9) Why 3 levels of progress is a very silly measure

Actually our ninth most popular page is the "About Us" on LSN co-founder Fiona Millar. But the ninth most popular article is again on the bias and absurdity of the "3 levels of progress" measure. May it soon disappear.

10) Sorry Toby but the data backs Suzanne

Toby Young had written a supposed takedown of Suzanne Mooore's article in the Guardian. I enjoyed writing this riposte to Toby and, fortunately, most of the information was already on the LSN site and so easy to find. Although only just making the top ten, it probably represents our most intense activity with around 10,000 visits in a couple of hours.
Are your favourite LSN posts included here? Feel free to comment, and to mention any that are not included. 
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