Insult to the creative mind

23rd May 2003 at 01:00
IS there any doubt that this year's key stage 2 writing test was politically manipulated?

We have just had the dubious pleasure of administering a written exam to our classes. It was aimed squarely at boys with the express intention of lifting borderline level 4 pupils so that this year's figures will be higher and consequently trumpeted by this Government as a sign that all is well with Sats and the national curriculum.

Nothing wrong with that, you might think, but do not be fooled into thinking that this is an acceptable state of affairs.

The written test question, in which there was no choice, was one of such staggering banality as to be risible. All children had to write for 45 minutes on a storyboard entitled "The Queue". Children were presented with four cartoon pictures of a boy waiting outside a shop for the launch of a new toy, going into the shop and then grabbing the last toy at the same time as another child. Riveting stuff. Perfect for creative writing?

At all training sessions we are now exhorted to foster our creative children and promote those who "think outside the box". Who at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority thought for one second that this was a way of testing our nation's creative writing skills? A heavily prescriptive theme with little room for originality simply insults our creative thinkers.

The test singularly failed to test. There were no opportunities for the talented, however moderate achievers could lift themselves into the level 4 that our leaders so badly want.

Those responsible should examine their consciences. Do they want a society which is able to think freely and creatively or are they merely manipulating our children to jump through increasingly meaningless hoops to the glory of the Government?

We teachers feel saddened that our able and gifted children were unable to demonstrate their abilities. Just think of what we are doing to those children. They have a right to be able to show what they can do. Shame on all those involved.

Harriet Rhodes

The Old Plough 17 Brook Street Elsworth, Cambridge

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