High-ranking primary wants to scrap tests

17th January 2003 at 00:00
PARENTS and teachers at a school which comes close to the top of primary league tables have backed a campaign to scrap tests for seven and 11-year-olds.

Margaret Earnshaw, headteacher of Greetland school in Halifax, invited her staff to sign a petition which says tests are "a symbol of everything that is currently wrong with the education of our children".

After a favourable response from parents who work at the school she intends to ask all parents to support the campaign in the next edition of the school's newsletter.

Her action is part of a campaign organised by John Berry, secretary of the Hertfordshire branch of the National Union of Teachers. He hopes to create "unstoppable momentum" against the tests by the time of the union's annual conference in April.

The NUT leadership this week called on other classroom unions to consider boycotting national primary school tests because they "distort" the curriculum and increase pressure on staff and pupils.

It follows a survey of members which found that nine in 10 would support a ballot to boycott tests, although most would only do so if other unions followed suit.

Mrs Earnshaw told The TES that she was backing the campaign because pressure to meet targets is damaging the school's commitment to providing a broad and balanced curriculum.

"The spontaneity of enthusiastic teachers is being eroded because they are forced to work towards the tests," she said. Last year all pupils at Greetland gained the expected level for key stage 2 science tests. Figures for maths and English were around 90 per cent.

Mrs Earnshaw said that Office for Standards in Education inspections were a better way of assessing a school's overall worth and criticised the Government and press's "obsession with numbers".

She said that Year 6 pupils had complained of being stressed well before the tests actually took place.

A government spokseprson defended the tests: "Our primary strategy has delivered the best-ever results and regular assessment is an important part of that."

News, 14

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now