Three is the key

13th April 2001 at 01:00
I am sorry that Sue Kirkham, of the Secondary Heads Association "doesn't have time for work for key stage 3" in her school. ("Angry heads to boycott training", TES, March 30). For too long it has been the Cinderella stage. We know standards are rising in key stages 1 and 2, and at GCSE, but research tells us that progress is not as swift at KS3.

If a pupil gets to level 6 in maths at KS3, then she is 88 per cent certain to get a C or above at GCSE. If a pupil does not get to level 5, then she only has a 4 per cent chance. If we can achieve the S3 strategy targets, progress at GCSE will take care of itself.

At the launch of the strategy Michael Barber described it as the "missing link" in the education programme to improve the life chances of young people.

No one underestimates the pressure on secondary schools. In some it is difficult to find teachers to cover for absences. But for the sake of the thousands in the lower secondary years who deserve the best, we must try.

Bob Hooper

Key stage 3 strategy manager

Warwickshire LEA

22 Northgate St, Warwick

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