Three pages of obsessive testing

24th January 2003 at 00:00
IN his very first letter to all primary heads, Stephen Twigg has almost certainly managed to alienate the vast majority of his readership - not just those in the "one in four schools" he identifies as "underperforming".

He has reiterated this Government's obsession with testing, testing, testing. Nowhere in his three-page letter is the word "education" mentioned. Perhaps in New Labour-speak the two are now considered synonymous.

The minister's letter may well have damaged his relationship with teachers, but much more significant is the damage being inflicted on children by this dominant testing regime. For me, the most chilling indictment of this policy was provided by an 11-year-old anticipating her test results, when she commented: "I'll be a nothing." That may be extreme but, given the assumption behind the minister's letter that 11-year-olds at level 3 are failing to achieve, how many thousands of such children will be saying this summer, "I'm only a three", and writing themselves off as learners?

Professor Colin Richards

1 Bobbin Mill

Spark Bridge, Cumbria

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now