Let's call time on testing and tables

24th October 2008 at 01:00

Last week Ofsted visited my school - the largest junior school in the country - and rated it outstanding in all areas. Twenty-seven aspects were considered and each one received the top mark. Does this mean the school is perfect? Of course not. But it is a great accolade for the 100 or so dedicated staff who have worked so hard to provide a high-quality education for the pupils. It is particularly pleasing to read that "the focus on pupils' personal, social, health and citizenship education has a key impact on their outstanding personal development" and that "they are exceptionally well prepared for their future lives".

Do Sats get a mention? Yes, and academic standards at Ocklynge are high. Have Sats and league tables helped to achieve this? No, they haven't; the school has succeeded despite the unwise and overriding emphasis on target-setting that has tended to distort and distract schools. Ocklynge was a victim of the summer's well-publicised marking fiasco and has yet to receive all the results from this year's tests as the English papers had to be sent back for remarking.

With so much uncertainty about the validity of this year's results and a lack of clarity about next summer's arrangements, surely now is the time for the political parties to call a halt to this rigid targeting, testing and league tables culture.

Mark Trott, Head of Ocklynge Junior School, Eastbourne, East Sussex.

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