Is it right to allow a child who is off school with a sickness bug to come in and take a Year 6 Sats exam paper

22nd June 2007 at 01:00
Is it right for a headteacher to allow a child who is off school with a sickness bug to come in and take a Year 6 Sats exam paper in his office, with a sick bucket provided?

Nick, Kent

A. No way, Nor is it right for the parent to let it happen. Both should feel ashamed of themselves. A sick child should be cared for at home. I would put money on this being a child expected to get a level 5. The parent wanted the prestige of saying their child got a 5 and the head wanted hisher results. Did this take place in an area where the child's secondary school had already been decided by an 11-plus exam? In such areas Sats only benefit the school. The paper cannot be sat a few days later in case this gives the child an unfair advantage, but sitting alone in the head's office could also give an unfair advantage. If the head is desperate enough to sit with a child and sick bucket, then they are desperate enough to cheat.

Jenny, Rainham

A. Although I can appreciate this headteacher is under pressure to meet Sats targets and make a good showing in the national league tables, I feel sorry for this Year 6 pupil. It suggests insecurity on the headteacher's part if the results will be so greatly affected by the absence of one individual.

Surely a child's emotional and physical wellbeing are of paramount importance. If the child had stayed at home, the school should quickly recover, but it may stay in this child's memory for many years.

John, Wigton

A. I had a bout of conjunctivitis at the time of my O-levels. I was dosed up with antibiotics, and locked away for the best part of three hours doing my human biology exam. Surprisingly, the exam yielded my best grade. Your candidate might not be terminally disadvantaged.

Chris, Sutton

A. Any parent willing to subject their child to this kind of treatment in the mistaken view that Sats matter, deserves to welcome the child and contents of sick bucket home at the end of the school day. As for the headteacher, they clearly have an eye securely focused on the league tables. Shame on them Helen, Bourne

Coming up

Q: After two terms of bad behaviour and disrespect from pupils a new teacher is trying to make changes. The pupils are not listening to her or responding to any of her new strategies. How can she turn the situation around? Or should she leave and find another school?

Q: Should schools stop testing children who are younger than 16?

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