More to success than good exam results

The National Audit Office has joined a growing number of bodies criticising the Government's reliance on testing to establish the quality of schools. Your article "Watchdog savages testing regime" (TES, September 26) says the audit office thinks it fairer to judge schools on "the value they add to pupils' education". I would go further and ask that ministers first consider what it really means to be educated.

Education must involve the acquisition of knowledge that enables pupils to operate effectively in the working world, but must also involve pupils growing up as people able to contribute positively to society. Schools that get excellent exam results do not necessarily turn out pupils who will become citizens of good moral character. No doubt the short-selling traders in the stock market or those who invent weapons of mass destruction had good exam results, but apparently they are not people who value their fellow human beings.

The Government must get beyond the simplistic test and exam results tables as a measure of success and consider what sort of people it wants in society. It is that line of thought that will lower crime rates, binge- drinking and drug-taking, and make for a more caring, creative and cohesive society.

Dr Tony Wenman, Claygate, Surrey.

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