Let pupils lead the revolution to end primary Sats

3rd April 2009 at 01:00

I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with the failure of some key people to engage in a proper debate about Sats - Mick Brookes, general secretary of the NAHT, especially. It's probably more understandable from the NUT, which measures its campaigning against members' interests and not educational matters.

The now seemingly constant mantra of "if they're no good for KS3, they're no good for KS1 or 2" fails to recognise that the end-of-phase assessments - mainly GCSEs - in the secondary phase have not been scrapped. What would be really helpful is for the NAHT and the NUT to talk seriously of replacing end-of-KS2 tests with another assessment that is rigorous and which would allow the progress of individual students to be validated by some external process.

I'm afraid I am old enough to remember when it was left to those who tended the "secret garden" to monitor and report such progress - and this led to inconsistency and often low standards.

Many in education are prepared to accept accountability and external scrutiny. If the NAHT were to as well, and suggest methodologies to provide robust comparisons between schools, I would back them. Their populist pandering will simply alienate people who could have much sympathy but who may begin to ask: "What have they got to hide?"

Dr Barry Wratten, Headteacher, Churchill Community Foundation School and Sixth Form Centre, Churchill Green, Somerset.

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