All the makings of a farce

28th March 2003 at 00:00
THE Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's proposal that examiners should be released from teaching to carry out extra marking convinces me that an increasingly mad educational world has reached a level of absurdity that is frightening.

We teach children for only 190 days per year but are being asked to stop teaching them for 10 days so that we can bring in strange teachers at the end of the school year while the proper teachers mark scripts.

Why don't exam boards train the supply teachers to mark exams? Why can't teachers wish ing to earn extra money by marking be allowed to do so at the start of the summer holidays?

The reality is that schools, in addition to the teaching time lost while students sit exams, are already having to release teachers for a massive amount of time for such things as the key stage 3 strategy, government initiatives and other development work.

Those with the unenviable task of covering for absent teachers will testify to the near impossibility of finding supply teachers. It is about time we stood up for the rights of pupils to be taught by teachers they know.

The quotation from the government spokesman expressing confidence that heads will act responsibly in the best interests of their students is beautifully ambiguous. I am clear where my responsibilities lie.

The examining problem is entirely the creation of this Government and its obsession with assessment. Perhaps the solution is to train Department for Education and Skills officials to do the marking. Now that's the sort of logic that would make the whole affair really worthy of a Yes, Minister episode.

Kevin O'Regan Headteacher Wolverley high school Kidderminster Worcestershire

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