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If the PM trusts teachers, why does he obsess about Sats' 'accountability'?

Gordon Brown's comment that there is a need to retain national testing in primary schools for "clear accountability" is derisory on two counts.

First, it makes a mockery of the millions that have been spent by the Government since 1997 on initiatives and organisations to improve the quality of the teaching profession (including the Training and Development Agency for Schools, the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children's Services, Ofsted and so on).

Second, it suggests that these supposedly highly trained professionals are incapable of identifying and supporting pupils' learning needs, and measuring and reporting the progress in that learning through day-to- day classroom teaching activities.

In other words, why bother to train teachers in pedagogy and teaching strategies at all when the Government and its leader simply want teachers to have basic skills in preparing and coaching pupils to produce Sats outcomes?

Professor Bill Boyle, Educational assessment chair, School of Education, Manchester University.

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