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They said ..

'It's very unusual to go to a school where everyone becomes test-geared for a long time.'

We say ...

The permanent secretary at the Department for Children, Schools and Families played down the amount of time that teachers are forced to spend focusing on tests when quizzed by MPs this week. He had visited hundreds of schools, he said, and not found evidence that many were involved in extensive exam preparation.

But plenty of evidence exists to the contrary.

We wonder if Mr Bell recalls a report from 2005 that commented on key stage 3 test preparations: "Many teachers spend too much time preparing pupils for the tests; in most schools, the whole of the spring term, and often time before and after, is devoted to explicit test preparation," it said. "Many teachers believe this is not justified. Not enough regard is given to how pupils' skills could be developed in more meaningful ways."

And where did the comments appear? The annual report of the chief schools inspector, who then happened to be, erm, David Bell.

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