Justified belief

5th December 2008 at 00:00

I just received the results of the national curriculum test review that I requested in July for my school's 2008 English Sat papers. Our first results indicated the school had achieved 54 per cent level 5 and above in English. The review now informs me we achieved 70 per cent level 5 and above: about what we predicted. Meanwhile, I and my colleagues have been through considerable angst on our students' behalf, not least because we knew that they had done better than was initially suggested.

By now, of course, the Sats, for them and us, are a distant bad memory. Not one child or parent has asked about the review and, undoubtedly, when the outcomes are finally published and presented to parents and students, the results will seem meaningless, except that our last Ofsted required that the school achieved "more consistency at KS3 English". Where does all this stand now?

Undoubtedly, functional skills will become the new sticks to beat schools with and English departments once again will bear the brunt. I can only hope that the papers and marking are fair, rigorous and reasonable.

Incidentally, our examinations officer told me that despite the outcome of our review, the school still has to pay for the privilege. A fairer outcome, it seems to me, would be to pay for the two days' supply that it cost the school in order to prepare for the review.

Sallie Peacock, Head of English, Christopher Whitehead Language College, Worcester.

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