Tests don't add to a rounded life

21st April 2000 at 01:00
FULL marks to Penny Holmes (TES, April 7) and Ian Anderson (BBC Radio 4 Today programme, April 12) for having the courage to challenge the escalating obsession with child testing at ever younger ages.

There is only a very tenuous correlation between the capacity to be drilled in passing tests, and the qualities that constitute a healthy, rounded education.

Indeed, an unremitting preoccupation with testing actively detracts from genuine education; and the anxiety levels associated with it have a demonstrably deleterious effect on learning quality. It's no coincidence that in a new report the Mental Health Foundation claims one-fifth of children aged five to 15 to have mental health problems.

More generally, child-centred education hs been systematically eclipsed by politician-centred education and "government by target" - with career politicians indiscriminately using children and teachers alike as cannon fodder to "prove" that their grossly simplistic sloganising on "standards" has been realised.

Your leader on April 7 puts it graphically well in referring to overworked individuals within education trying to realise career politicians' electoral promises.

The time is fast approaching when no one - not even career politicians - will be able to ignore the devastation that the zealous educational modernisers have wrought on our education system.

Dr Richard House

Norwich Steiner Education


13 Denbigh Road

Norwich, Norfolk

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