Robertson to step up testing in secondaries

15th March 1996 at 00:00
The Scottish Office has stepped up its offensive to quicken the pace of the 5-14 programme in secondary schools.

Ministers have clearly lost patience with complaints that schools do not have the time or resources to prepare for both 5-14 and the post-16 changes at a time when their budgets are being cut.

One of Michael Forsyth's earliest moves when he became Secretary of State last year was to postpone the introduction of the Higher Still reforms by a year to 1998, partly to allow schools to concentrate on the 5-14 curriculum.

Mr Forsyth has already criticised low rates of testing in S1 and S2. Eight per cent of pupils were tested in maths last session, 9 per cent in reading and 5 per cent in writing.

In his Commons statement on education last week, Raymond Robertson, the Education Minister said the position of testing in secondary schools was "completely unacceptable."

Mr Robertson continued: "I am therefore currently considering options for giving further impetus to testing in secondary schools. The generally poor performance of secondary schools on testing must be, and will be, addressed if the wider benefits of the curriculum reforms are to be secured."

The Inspectorate has now agreed with the Association of Directors of Education to run a series of local seminars for senior promoted secondary staff.

The Scottish Office will spell out what is expected of schools and the authorities will be invited to tell the staff what support they intend to give. A national evaluation will take place a year after the seminars.

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