Letters Extra: False economy of tests

31st January 2003 at 00:00

Having just suffered an Ofsted inspection, which was satisfactory but with the agenda firmly tied to SAT results, I would like to support the letters in the TES 24 January about Stephen Twigg's "Sword of Damocles".

Primary schools are being turned into "cramming factories" to ensure the Government, which has missed most of its other targets, (health service, transport, eduction) meets its key stage two ones.

Pupils' education is being severely damaged; especially those who are not high achievers and many are being turned off schooling at the age of 1011.

It is time headteachers spoke out about the narrow curriculum, teaching to tests and even, dare I say, being economical with the way tests are administered.

Interestingly, secondary schools are now being targeted by the Government as improvement between key stage 2 and key stage 3 is not good enough. How can it be when many pupils entering with level 4 are not able to maintain that standard.

It used to be recognised that an IQ of 100 was average; this should equate to a level 4 at key stage 2. Now pupils with IQs in the 80s and 70s are expected to get a level 4 and some are achieving this.

It is time targets were left to schools to draw up and implement. Governing bodies are responsible and should be the sole arbiter of each school's expectations.

If one cohort of pupils or one school's intact is not at standard, then the whole curriculum should be planned to ensure interest, enthusiasm and that good progress is achieved, without undue presure to reach a nebulous, erroneous target.

R J Woodhead
Headteacher
Farley Juior School
North Drift Way
Luton
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