Letters extra: Too much primary testing

30th March 2001 at 01:00

Many primary schools are now used to receiving commendations for excellent results. But I want to ask, at what cost?

Children learn by exploration and meaningful tasks. Their sense of achievement will only be full realised if they retain ownership of their learning.

But primary children are no longer offered a diet which nourishes their hunger for knowledge. Teachers, governors and parents are obsessed with results. They encourage their children "to do well". To do well, for whom? These poor children are old before their time, burdened by the expectations of their betters.

The first thing to do is to regain child-based learning. Most primary schools try to retain a cross curricular experience for their pupils. However, art and music, games and drama are considered extras. They should be what primary learning is hinged upon. English, maths and science are obviously important, but not to such a degree that the children reach secondary school burnt out.

Margaret Allen
Rustington, West Sussex

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