Infant creative spirit is crushed

11th July 2003 at 01:00
"Go to the toilet lightly." Goodness knows what this means. This sentence is the product of children being carefully coached in key stage 1 mark schemes for writing.

I suspect in 2003 that more children will meet the requirements for levels 2 and 3 in writing. However, standards will not have risen. What has been achieved instead? An unprecedented uniformity of writing, an absence of creativity and an overwhelming dullness.

Every year I collect an example of writing which moves me to laughter, or simply moves me. I share it with educationists and others alike. Not this year. To me this is more meaningful that any "objective mark" scheme.

Shame on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, guardian of the national curriculum. It has well and truly throttled the personal voice in young children's writing. Instead we have six and seven-year-olds writing very similar stories and instructions of no practical purpose other than to describe a familiar sequence to serve dubious assessment practice.

Teachers were never more burdened with marking than in 2003 and it is ironic that, as the burden of marking increased, the effects of assessment have never been more damaging.

Brenda Spencer

(Auditor of KS1 Sats since 1995)

54 Burhill Road



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