PLANS to provide parents with an alternate league table to those provided by the government would give a more realistic view of how Bradford's schools are performing, according to an education chief.

Councillor Ralph Berry, the executive member for children's services on Bradford Council, has welcomed an idea proposed by The Association of School and College Leaders and the National Association of Head Teachers.

Their proposal is for an alternate table that takes a wider range of issues into account when ranking schools.

But Ian Murch, Bradford spokesman for the National Union of Teachers, thinks it would be better for the government to change its own league tables system.

The rival rankings, which will focus on secondary schools to begin with, are expected to cover GCSE results as well as details on extra-curricular activities such as music and sport, the curriculum and other measures like class sizes and subjects.

School leaders have voiced concerns about current school league tables, including a decision made by the government last year that only a pupil's first attempt at an exam will count towards their school's overall results - a change made due to worries that students were being entered for qualifications early, or multiple times, to boost grades.

The chief executive of United Learning, Jon Coles, said that performance had become less about giving parents information and more about successive governments' attempts to influence the decisions that head teachers made about their schools.

He added: "This is too crude an approach to defining a great school or encouraging improvement and at different times, it has been detrimental in different ways.

"For example, promoting too much focus on the C/D borderline, especially in English and maths, or promoting choices of qualification which do not serve individual children well."

Cllr Berry said: "This is an excellent idea in my opinion. Government league tables often completely ignore the context of each school.

"These heads' groups are proposing putting out the type of information that parents need. At the end of the day these are relevant facts and look a lot more on issues like what stages children are starting at."

Mr Murch said the Union would be discussing the plans with local head teachers, and added: "They make a very good point about the focus on grades A to C. A lot of schools target kids who are on Ds so they get to that standard, that means that the most able and the least able lose out.

"You can produce better league tables that have more meaning than what we have now, but even those would still have problems. The best thing to do would be to get the government to do their tables differently, but I don't think any type of league table is the best way to judge a school."