Dreaming of success in tests

When head Bob Fletcher asked his pupils about their hopes for the coming year, success in national tests loomed large, writes Julie Henry.

Concern about national tests was up there with the desire for a PlayStation 2 and one pupil's hope that her 99-year-old grandmother would live long enough to reach her century.

Mr Fletcher teaches Year 6 at Hobbayne primary school, in Ealing, west London. About a quarter of children at the 467-pupil school speak English as an additional language. A quarter are entitled to free meals.

He said: "All the children talk about getting good grades in their national tests and going to a decent high school."

Most of the children were realistic about their chances in tests and few expected results way beyond their capabilities.

Mr Fletcher said: "There is a common feeling that the children want to do the best they can educationally.

"I could not have imagined that the school's targets - and the stress - would be passed down so directly to the children."

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