10th August 2001 at 01:00
Has anyone thought of eliminating key stage 4? A new four-year intermediate stage covering Years 7 to 10 using a consistent curriculum could eliminate a level of national tests. A new three-year stage covering Years 11 to 13 would allow broad specialisation and a later school eaving age.

Specialist status would only be conferred at the higher stage. The stages could be delivered at one institution or separate schools. Big 11-18 schools might split. So there we have it: less testing, smaller schools for younger pupils, breadth for older ones, with little disruption to the system.

David Griffiths 1 Fulshaw AvenueWilmslow, Cheshire

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