Chris Woodhead is right about tests

8th September 2000 at 01:00
I WAS interested to read the item headed "Tests are so, so, so boring, Mister Blunkett" (TES, August 18), which reported the opinions expressed in letters children of Micklefield primary, High Wycombe, had written to David Blunkett about the national tests.

Your reporter seemed pleased that the Education Secretary had taken the time to make detailed replies whereas the chief inspector had been "abrupt".

On reading your report, I found two reasons to feel rather uncomfortable.

First, Mr Blunkett had been unusually kind in overlooking the obvious grammatical and spelling inconsistencies in the letters ad making such a charming response.

Second, and more worryingly, I found myself strangely in agreement with the wonderfully terse Chris Woodhead: the tests are no more or less "boring" than any other element of education. Therefore the answer to his question "does it not all depend upon how you introduce the tests?" is - emphatically - yes!

The teacher concerned says her childrens' letters of complaint were prompted by a pupil's comments; perhaps she should now consider the replies she has received and take appropriate action.

John Duffty

15 Limelands Road



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