Baseline studies have real purpose

3rd July 1998 at 01:00
It is unfortunate that David Hawker's attitude to the findings of the baseline assessment pilot was so dismissive.

The more we can find out about factors that have a direct and meaningful influence on children's future attainment then the more likely it is that we can help them to make the most of their potential.

One of the stated purposes of baseline assessment is to produce information that supports teachers' planning. At this early stage such data is prompting serious thought about how to make the best provision for individuals and groups.

The impact that month of birth, gender, socio-economic background and pre-school experiences have on the attainment of very young children are serious factors to be taken into account. They are not used as excuses, certainly not by the scores of early-years teachers with whom I work.

David Ford. Senior inspector. Durham County Council

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