Let us decide, not the testers

29th April 2005 at 01:00
Stephen Twigg's response to the education select committee's report regarding primary literacy was quite encouraging for teachers. It was refreshing to hear a minister encouraging teachers to exercise their professional judgement.

He also hinted that if re-elected, the Government would not make a quick prescriptive shift to phonics-led teaching following the Clackmannanshire report, preferring to engage in a debate around it. The National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE) firmly believes that teachers must lead such a debate, and should be properly consulted as to their views. It is disappointing that the Government has discontinued schemes such as best-practice research scholarships which allowed many teachers to develop the professional judgement Mr Twigg praises, by engaging them in research themselves.

While Mr Twigg is in the mood for defending the prerogative of teachers, can we also hope for an end to the key stage tests in English which have disrupted and narrowed down the good work in classrooms for far too long? NATE calls for a system of assessment led by the sound judgement of class teachers without delay.

Craig Morrison

Vice-chair, NATE

50 Broadfield Road, Sheffield

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