23rd May 2008 at 01:00
Key stage 2 Sats in English have raised eyebrows in the past, but last year it seemed they had improved
Key stage 2 Sats in English have raised eyebrows in the past, but last year it seemed they had improved. Regrettably, last week's offerings represented a return to form.

It was the longer task that really jarred. Writing a biography - the one genre that has not featured in previous tests - is hard enough. But asking a 10- or 11-year-old to empathise with a fictitious Victorian fairground worker is another matter entirely. Some might have had a little background knowledge from the Victorian Britain history unit (bad luck, by the way, if your school, like mine, chose the Britain since 1930 option), but what about 19th-century fairgrounds? Just bizarre.

The worst part is that we devote so much time to helping children evolve into imaginative writers with an appreciation of the nuances of language. Thinking back to last week's tasks, you might be forgiven for wondering, "What's the point?"

Mike Price, Key stage 2 teacher and literacy co-ordinator, Plumstead, south-east London.

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