Primary tests are the 'carbuncle' on a 'boil' of a curriculum, says union leader

11th June 2016 at 18:02
quiz, students, learning, school, education
Children should instead be asked to read widely and write creatively in their classrooms, the head of a classroom union has said

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, said that while she disagreed with the testing regime introduced by the Conservative government, the real “problem” was the curriculum.

“We have children who are learning the names of words in the hope that this will make them better readers and writers. It won’t. Instead they should be being asked to read widely and write creatively in their classrooms.

“I would say that the primary assessment system is the carbuncle on the boil that is the primary curriculum,” Dr Bousted added.  

Her comments come after a fraught term for primary assessment in which one major test was cancelled following a leaked paper and there were complaints that another was so difficult it reduced pupils to tears.

Parents even attempted to stage a “strike” ahead of the Key Stage 1 tests by pulling their children out of school for a day in protest against the tougher tests.

Speaking at the Northern Rocks teachers' conference in Leeds, the union leader said the support for such a curriculum came from a group she described as the “new blob”, which was formed primarily of former Teach First teachers.

“These are people who may well have enjoyed a classical education and the benefits that come with it, but they have no understanding of real life,” Dr Bousted added.  

It is not the first time Dr Bousted has commented on the so-called “new blob”, whom she described as wanting to deal only “with a rose-tinted view of teaching which bears only a passing resemblance to the reality of working in too many schools”.

Her words were met with outrage on Twitter, with a number of people hitting back at the description. 







Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today