Mike Tomlinson, the man drawing up plans for an English baccalaureate, says school league tables might have to go.
Mike Tomlinson says no school is an island
He says tables based on the performance of individual schools would not make sense under his plans and that results might be published just for an area as a whole.
Mr Tomlinson, the former chief inspector of schools in England, is in charge of the government's review of qualifications for 14 to 19 year olds.
He is looking at proposals for an over-arching qualification, like a baccalaureate, which could be made up of academic and vocational modules.
A mixture of academic and vocational elements would mean schools would co-operate closely with further education colleges, universities and training organisations.
In a speech to the Royal Society of Arts, Mr Tomlinson said: "It is quite clear that any school which thinks it can provide for the needs of all its students is likely to be wrong.
"Such co-operation will, or at least should, lead to a rethink about the performance data published and the accountability mechanisms.
"If the performance of students is a product of co-operation, can headline performance data be other than at area level?"
Mr Tomlinson's comments will be seized on by opponents of league tables who say they are not a true measure of a school's performance because they do not take into account a school's intake.
But supporters of the league tables say they give parents a valuable guide as to how well a school is doing.
'Ladder of failure'
In his speech, Mr Tomlinson also said teachers had made some remarkable improvements, especially in literacy and numeracy in primary schools.
But he said there was a "ladder of increasing failure" as children moved on.
The government is keen to raise standards in the early years of secondary school and says there is a danger that gains made in primary school are squandered when children reach secondary school.
On an international scale, Mr Tomlinson said pupils in England were doing well, with the top 30% doing very well.