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Improved performance beggars belief

At the time of writing the key stage 2 test results had not yet been published. Our results are on a par with our average performance but slightly down on 1996.

I am particularly concerned about the credibility of the published results as the improved performance of some Birmingham schools beggars belief. If performance in particular schools can be so enhanced in one year then the staff concerned should perhaps be leading at national level rather than working in local schools.

As these results are now published and widely debated, it is time they were administered as public examinations and invigilated by individuals independent of the school. If the conditions under which the tests are taken are guaranteed in this way, the published results will have meaning and relevance for comparability purposes. As things stand, it is impossible for any local or national figure to talk about progress being made towards previously identified targets when the playing field is potentially so uneven.

The other great danger is that schools will feel pressured to coach the children purely to do well in the tests to improve their league table position with consequential damage to the child's overall education.

JOHN McELWEE

Headteacher St John Fisher RC primary school Alvechurch Road, Birmingham

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