At the Supreme Court, a Dublin school principal has won his challenge to a decision by the Information Commissioner to release school inspectors' reports on academic success in schools to The Irish Times.

The principal of Scoil Choilm, Crumlin, Barney Sheedy, was appealing against the High Court's refusal to overturn the commissioner's decision to release the reports.

The Supreme Court found that legislation allowed the Minister for Education to refuse access to any information, which would allow the academic achievements of students in schools to be compiled and compared.

Every five years or so, primary schools are visited by Department of Education inspectors who compile a report which is then sent back to the school.

The issue came before the courts when The Irish Times looked for some of these reports under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Information Officer initially allowed their request and was supported by the High Court. However, the Supreme Court has overturned that ruling.

It has ruled that the minister's right to prevent the release of information which could lead to the creation of so-called league tables includes the right to stop the publication of inspector's reports. The National Parents Council has said it is surprised by the decision and has called for more openness.

The Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, has said that although she is against the creation of league tables, she will now look at ways of using these reports to give more information to parents.