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Test argument misses crucial point

Your leader on whether young people should be tested at age 11 in primary schools or secondary schools ("Plan to foist Sats on secondaries gives new life to debate", June 19) begs the most interesting questions of all.

You write: "It is iniquitous to test children immediately after the biggest upheaval in their educational lives following the summer months."

Really, the question is: "Why do we create this artificial upheaval in the first place? Why at 11 and why at all?"

The entire argument is predicated on the assumptions that all children must study the same curriculum at the same age in the same place to the same standards, and that education can only take place in school.

School has its place in education, but it is not synonymous with education. It fills certain specialised gaps that few parents are able to supply "at home". However, from the outside, it is clearly organised for the convenience of the providers - and I don't just mean the teachers, but the entire resource bureaucracy that lies behind them - rather than to meet the special and particular needs of each young person.

John Harrison, Training consultant, Rye, East Sussex, and co-author of 'Wot, No School?'


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