Poor timing

Remember all the fuss last year when England wasn't included in the Trends in International Maths and Science Study tables because not enough of our schools took part? Well, they came up with a brilliant wheeze to make sure we are included this year: bribery. So, a few months ago, our school received an offer that was too good to refuse from the National Foundation for Educational Research, asking us to allow some Year 9s to take part.

I wonder who decided that Timss would take place the week after key stage 3 Sats? Our pupils turned up and gave it a go, but their hearts weren't in it. They'd responded wholeheartedly to the Sats, but there was nothing in it for them to really give Timss their all. It was a bit like a play-off for 3rd place a week after the FA Cup final.

No doubt there will be horror stories at some time when the results are published and England is found to have slipped down the international league tables. I wonder if anyone will then remember that the results will be more a comment on poor planning and administration than poor education.

Tony Toubkin. Burton, Carnforth, Lancashire

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