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Scrapping of tick lists welcomed by unions

The Government's decision to scrap tick lists and produce voluntary guidance to support teachers' own assessments of classroom work was welcomed by union leaders this week.

Gillian Shephard, the Education Secretary, stressed that she had no intention of imposing any additional rules and regulations.

Teachers have long complained about bureaucratic tick lists which substantially increased their workload. Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: "I welcome, in particular, the fact that a joint letter from Sir Ron Dearing (chairman of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority) and Chris Woodhead (chief inspector of schools) will be sent to all headteachers making it absolutely clear that no elaborate system for recording teacher assessment should be re-introduced into schools."

And Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "The announcement illustrates further recognition by the Education Secretary of teachers' professionalism and of the importance of teacher assessment."

Mrs Shephard has asked Sir Ron to produce examples of the standards demanded by the new curriculum which can be used as guidance by teachers and heads.

The Education Secretary also announced a timetable for teachers' own assessments in the future.

In 1996 - the first year of the new national curriculum - teacher assessments will be confined to the core subjects of English, mathematics and science for 7, 11 and 14-year-olds. In 1997, for 14-year-olds only, teacher assessment will be extended to the other national curriculum subjects. And in 1998 teacher assessments for 7 and 11-year-olds may be extended to other subjects depending on progress in 1996-97.

Mrs Shephard said: "These steps should ensure that teacher assessment will be effectively supported without inhibiting teachers' proper professional discretion."

She also confirmed that teachers' own assessments will be given equal weight with test results in all forms of public reporting, including league tables for 11-year-olds.

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