Style over substance in the curriculum

Nick Clegg's insouciant presentation on the review of curriculum assessment and the ranking of student performance was a perfect example of how the UK government sees the teaching profession and, more importantly, how it sees children as statistical fodder for the bean counters who continue to run the Department for Education.

Style over substance, the obsession with structure over quality of teaching and learning and the need for a good sound bite are once again the hallmarks of our political leaders.

Even thinking about testing five-year-olds should be anathema to anyone with the slightest interest in children's welfare and educational progress. And if any other minister says that their aim is to emulate Finnish education without looking at why it is so successful (no formal education until the age of 7, respect for its teaching workforce, lack of obsessive testing) they should be packed off to the country to be "educated" themselves.

Mr Clegg's lame final comment that "this is still only a consultation" presumably gives him the option of a U-turn at a later date. I await the next idea of tattooing each 11-year-old with their percentile position. Or is that too fanciful?

Tony Roberts, Lancashire branch of the NAHT headteachers' union, Preston.

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