Early diagnosis

13th September 1996 at 01:00
According to Sir Ron Dearing (Radio 4's Today programme, September 3), the proposed tests for children entering reception classes are intended to be diagnostic, informing teachers of the children's achievements on school entry.

Teachers will then be able to set up teaching programmes catering for individuals, allowing them to move forward rapidly into new areas of learning.

This suggests a differentiated approach which sits very uneasily with demands from chief inspector Chris Woodhead for more whole-class teaching.

Teachers have become sadly accustomed to being told that they are failing their children.

The mixed messages received from the Office for Standards in Education, the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority and the Department for Education and Employment all make it more inevitable that to succeed by the criteria of one institution will mean failure by the conflicting criteria of another!

HILARY VAUGHAN Headteacher Holbrook C P School Holbrook School Lane Horsham West Sussex

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