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Don't blame the tests, aim at excellence

I am saddened by the "failure" of so many of my Year 6 pupils to achieve an average level 4 in this year's tests.

However, I do not blame the tests or the children. I blame the system which for so many years has advocated a "softly-softly" approach to education. We have shied away from structure and rigour. We have become the slave of the photocopier. We have managed children, not taught them. We have used words such as collaborative to protect those who find it difficult or are too lazy to think for themselves - or to give ourselves credibility that we are modern-day educationists.

Let us stop blaming the tests or the Government. Let us look closely at our practice, reappraise our teaching methods and strive for excellence.

I have been a head for two-and-a-half years. I have a duty to myself, the children, parents and teachers of my school to raise the standards. That is my goal for next year and I intend to do it. It is time to stop whingeing about inappropriate language, the lack of time and so on.

Let us all sit down in September and look closely at our practice and reappraise critically what we are doing. We can succeed and in doing so our children will reap the benefits.

M WHITE Headteacher Ashmount Junior School Hornsey Lane, London N19

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