Dressing down for checklists

7th February 2003 at 00:00
I APPLAUD Ted Wragg for his condemnation of the new foundation stage profile (TES, January 24). He was similarly critical of the number of attainment targets in national curriculum science some years ago, and accurately predicted the need for a slimmed-down version.

The foundation curriculum is a delight compared with that at key stage 1 as it is based on play, purposeful activity and the needs of the children.

Staff have beavered away for years constantly redrafting and revising planning and assessment.

However, many would say that the emphasis on observation and completing checklists detracts from teaching and interacting with children. It is impossible to respond properly to a child while completing a checklist.

It is fatuous to record statements of "attainment" such as "dresses and undresses independently and manages own personal hygiene".Such statements are related to maturation and are stages that all children, except those with special needs, go through at their own pace.

How many seven-year-olds will be unable to dress themselves? What purpose does it serve to record when a child is able to do so? I doubt whether any Year 1 teacher will have time to go through each 12-page booklet, so for whose benefit are we to complete the profiles?

Obviously the main beneficiary will be the Government. It may well use the profile statistics as a stick to beat KS1 teachers if national test results are perceived to be inadequate.

Not for a moment will it consider that the narrow, prescriptive, over-formal pencil-and-paper KS1 regime could be slowing progress and causing disaffection, particularly in boys.

Christine Lees

13 Islestone Court

Berwick-upon-Twee

Northumberland

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