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Is it any surprise that primary teachers find it hard to cope when they are faced with this avalanche of change?

Schools are not like the latest iteration of Clash of Clans. Their effectiveness does not improve with endless upgrades

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If any more proof were needed that tech rules the world, consider how nothing nowadays ever gets finished. 

Java, Windows, iTunes – whatever it is, it needs a patch, then another patch, an update. It’s about security, better performance, New! and Exciting! features.

A bit like the changes to primary assessment.

Michael Tidd, the indefatigable deputy head of Edgewood Primary School in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, pointed out that there have been six changes to the key stage 2 assessment and reporting arrangements in just two weeks.

There have been no fewer than 6 updates to the KS2 ARA already in 2 weeks! How are we meant to keep on top of it?

— Michael Tidd (@MichaelT1979) January 14, 2016

And there’s been another since that tweet.

These arrangements are mandatory, so school leaders are obliged to check each and every one at each update. But they are just the tip of what is going on in primaries.

The Year 6 writing test went first, and the profession was pleased. But then came phonics, and phonic resits, a spelling, punctuation and grammar (Spag) test, calculators thrown out, a baseline test brought in; then this year comes more Spag for younger children and the new tougher Sats for Year 6 – including questions on Roman numerals. No wonder primary teachers are asking what the L is going on? Does anyone give an XXXX?

For the tech industry, made up of private companies that do not insist that we update Clash of Clans by law, such iteration is understandable. Desirable, even. These products are shipped to survive in the hacker-infested waters of the internet and like a shark, if they don’t keep moving, they die.

Similarly, the government is telling teachers what it wants today and then insisting they update the information tomorrow. It may think that makes it up-to-date, but for those on the receiving end it looks increasingly patchy.

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