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Bring some joy to the literacy hour

AT one of our weekly staff briefings last month, I directed staff to do something specific.

"This morning colleagues, when the children in your class are focusing on this week's numeracy unit, or a specific aspect of literacy... or in Year 6, when their heads are down for yet another morning of test preparation, if a child suddenly calls out 'Miss, it's snowing', please don't say: 'Stop looking out of the window and get on with your work.'

"Instead colleagues, and this is my direction as headteacher, say: 'stop work immediately - we're going outside to dance in the snow'."

I've suddenly come to the realisation that for all of us in education the joy has gone. Tests, target-setting, league tables, performance management, inspections - one initiative after another have left us, adults and children, empty, tired, dispirited and disillusioned.

The time, I feel, has come for those of us with influence to reassert ourselves and reaffirm those strong beliefs that led us into education. The most positive action we should take, and one which will send out the strongest possible signal to central government about our deeply felt concerns, would be to unanimously boycott the 2003 tests.

We should instead, with immediate effect, strive to bring back a curriculum containing the joy and wonderment of learning that used to exist for all our children. By the way, the day of that staff briefing our children did dance in the snow - their joy and wonderment was evident for all to see.

Dave Mallinder

Headteacher

Charles Saer community primary school

Fleetwood, Lancashire

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