Learning lessons from the south

17th June 2016 at 01:00

Nicola Sturgeon has put education at the very heart of her agenda. I hope she has paid close attention to our neighbour’s experience to the south.

Recently we saw and read the stories regarding English primary pupils suffering from stress thanks to the so-called Sats tests, taken by seven- and 11-year-olds. Testing creates a damaging culture and the much-publicised introduction of National Standardised Testing in Scotland is a recipe for disaster. Such testing will lead local authorities to heap pressure on their headteachers to improve their schools’ attainment figures, heads will heap pressure on teachers to ensure that results are improving, teachers will heap pressure on pupils to learn the requirements of “test success”.

How many times do governments need to be told that increasing the number of tests does not improve academic performance? Effective learning requires engagement, and to be engaged children need to be motivated, interested and enjoying the process. Testing is demotivating (for most), singularly disengaging and the least enjoyable part of education. Surely, education is about daring to dream, being allowed to make mistakes and being taken on fascinating voyages of discovery. It is not about ensuring that 89 per cent of seven-year-olds can spell “school”.

Rod Grant

Headmaster, Clifton Hall School, Edinburgh

Short and tweet

Biggest delegate response so far is for restorative pay claim – cheers in the hall for mover, Charlotte Ahmed of Glasgow #EISAGM16


Teachers are stressed and made to feel like failures because they cannot meet the needs of their vulnerable pupils #EISAGM16


General secretary Larry Flanagan: “We need to nail the myth that before NIF there was no data in the schools system” #EISAGM16


Larry Flanagan showing what 55,000 people standing together (at Bruce Springsteen’s Glasgow concert) looks like and how powerful it can be #EISAGM16


The general secretary calls for a massive turnout in the ballot on boycotting co-operation with the SQA. Vote now and vote yes! #EISAGM16


I’m at a fringe event on how to support trans learners – they just want to be themselves #EISAGM16



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