Monolith moved in the interests of learning

VARNDEAN technology college has decided to scrap all tests apart from the statutory ones pupils take at age 14.

Andy Schofield, headteacher at the Brighton school, said too much time was being taken up by tests that were not necessarily valid or reliable: "They don't really tell us anything that we don't already know. Our overall assessment strategy is about assessment for learning not assessment of learning. It is not about sitting the kids in the hall every few months for a formal exam.

"These tests are about school accountability and putting pressure on teachers, they have got nothing to do with the students. Children have their summative assessment at the end of the key stage, you don't have to endlessly keep reporting on their levels."

Students at the 1,199-pupil school will no longer take Year 7 progress tests or optional tests in Year 8. The secondary, described as very good by inspectors, is an oversubscribed beacon school where there are admission appeals every year.

Mr Schofield said the school's success and parents' support made it easier to take decisions that went against the "national testing monolith". "We are not complacent about achievement - far from it. We just don't see mass testing as part of the strategy," he said.

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