Just read short article “Private schools aren’t doing as well right-wingers like to think” by Rob Cowen @bobbiecowman1. Rob analyses the data on recent GCSE results and finds that independent schools have been falling behind comprehensive schools in the last couple of years. He uses this to refute the belief that GCSE standards are dropping, although equally it calls into question David Cameron’s recent suggestion that independent schools such as Eton should be given public money to start ‘Free Schools’2.
However, this is also a wonderful example of the way open data can be used to challenge unsupported views including official ones or ‘common knowledge’. Of course, during the recent voting reform referendum, David Cameron expressed his disinterest in data and statistics compared with gut feelings, so the availability of data is only half the battle!