A primary vision without tests

4th February 2000 at 00:00
YOUR leader (TES, January 21) asks those of us who reject the Government's vision of education to articulate an alternative.

My vision of primary education starts from a recognition that children's creative thought and action lie at the heart of educational experience from infancy and that the primary classroom, at its best, is the setting for a provocative engagement with culture, shared between a teacher and her class.

That means, among so much else, the abandonment of an overdetermined curriculum which ignores the innumerable ways in which the content of every good primary classroom necessarily varies, to accommodate the developing concerns of is members.

It means the rejection of testing in favour of forms of assessment based on the body of work produced within the classroom and each individual's contribution.

It means giving classroom teachers rather than heads the leading role in educational management. It means redefining inspection as collaborative evaluation and reflection.

These alternatives may be outside the bounds of present possibility, granted the oppressive orthodox, but please don't pretend that they don't exist. You will find them tucked away somewhere or other within The TES almost every week.

Michael Armstrong

15 Furzedown Road


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