Don't scrap test regime, reform it

19th December 2003 at 00:00
I have heard much from those asking if we should continue with national curriculum tests. As a primary head of many years standing, I am in favour of Sats in principle; it is their lack of flexibility and inability to measure a child's true progress that should be changed.

Our school serves a challenging community. I can say with confidence that we will never achieve 100 per cent of pupils scoring at level 4 and above in literacy or in numeracy tests.

The league tables do not show a true picture of the genuine success of our school. We should be working with ministers to make the results more valuable for pupils, schools and parents.

It must be possible to show how inappropriate (and inaccurate) it is to use free school meals as a sensible measure to inform judgments about a school's achievement. It must also be possible to persuade ministers that it is the overall cumulative improvement that each individual child makes that is important.

Are we going to continue to bemoan our fate and to boycott tests; or are we going to "own the problem" and call for meetings with ministers and others in order to work together to build on what we already have and mould it into something even better?

Brenda Bigland Head, Lent Rise school Coulson Way Burnham, Slough

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