The power of dreams

8th July 2005 at 01:00
Moan, moan, moan. Gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair. Grim faces all round. Sats; don't you just hate them? Weeks after the event, staffrooms across the country remain full of grumbles and groans. Yes, we hate them with a passion and we are even writing in chatrooms about them.

Actually, it's more ranting than writing. The anger, tears and anxious faces don't belong to the pupils but the teachers. SP of London is allegedly livid. AK of Leeds apparently wept in frustration on seeing the questions. We can only hope she spared the pupils that sight. Hmmm, those questions. Was it just me who noticed a distinct gender bias with one on robots and another on skateboarding? Maybe someone's worried about the performance of boys in schools.

What are we to do? Such rage could be harnessed and solve the nation's energy crisis, so why don't we harness it and use it? Imagine for one moment an end to the tyrannical regime of testing, of a liberated profession.

After all, if the results aren't due until the end of August, what use are the Sats? Too late for streaming and setting in the new academic year.

Heavens, teachers will have to rely on their own professional judgement! Just what use is a level 5 at GCSE when the grading changes from a numerical level to a lettered grade? Employers don't give a flying fig for levels - they want GCSE grades and plenty of them.

The media jumped on its usual bandwagon of league tables, falling standards and preserving the great god Shakespeare. So boringly predictable. If we scrapped them, they'd have to find something else to twitter about and ministers would have to find a group other than English teachers to blame for rising crime rates.

Abandon schemes that instruct you not to give marks for brilliance, originality and wit. Abolish dusty acronyms of SSP, TSO and CE. How about reading and writing for the sheer unadulterated pleasure of it all? Throw out those chunks of dissected text and offer the luxury of whole books to read and lose oneself in.

Bobby raises his hand: "How will they mark my imagination, Miss?" I haven't the heart to tell him that, sadly, they don't.

The theme tune for the Honda car advert flashes through my mind, with colourful images of happy rabbits and rainbows. "Hate something, change something, hate something, change something, make something better!"

Stop moaning, start doing. This is the power of dreams.

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