Sick of guidance on egg sucking

10th December 2004 at 00:00
In my postbag the other day I found yet more guidance from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority on how to administer the key stage 2 tests. It is the Test Administrators Guide: English, mathematics and science and as the head I "must ensure that relevant personnel are familiar with the requirements."

I fell upon the "essential information" on page 3. I should ensure, I was told, that the correct test papers are handed out; that pupils do not have mobile phones or other disruptive items with them in the tests (what did they have in mind - ghetto blasters? air rifles? piano accordions?); that the pupils should work quietly during the tests. Useful stuff.

I turned with interest to the guidance on what to do "when things do not go to plan". Illuminating! If a mobile phone rings "it must be turned off at once". "If a pupil is being disruptive I should "stop the test and remove the pupil".

If my cassette or CD player goes wrong during the mental maths test I am to " tell the pupils to stay quiet and remain seated" and" attempt to find a replacement." All very helpful.

The section I liked best though was the one giving clear guidance on what I should do if a pupil is actually sick during the test. I am to "stop the test while the room is cleaned". If the sick actually hits the paper I am to issue a new copy. If the sick has not totally obscured the pupil's work I must ask a member of staff to copy out the "answers on the spoiled page"

onto a new paper.

Disappointingly, I am not to "send the original spoilt paper to the marker". Killjoys.

The guidance is all too brief and incomplete for my liking. It does not tell me how to respond if an eagle flies into the classroom during science paper one, or what to do if a child's new socks are causing an allergic reaction.

What must I do if the smell of cook's fairy cakes wafts into the hall during the tests or a member of the support staff is yodelling within earshot?

And what about those eggs that desperately need sucking?

Where does all this unnecessary advice come from? Presumably not from the same bunch of civil servants who told us primary education was "about children experiencing the joy of discovery, solving problems, being creative in writing, art, music, developing their self confidence as learners and maturing socially and emotionally".

Creative tests? The joy of Sats? Don't make me sick.

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