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What they said...

"Standards for pupils aged 11-14 are not high enough. Pupils make far too little progress during these years."

- Schools: Building on Success Green Paper, February 2001 "If all middle and secondary schools adopt the national strategy with the same enthusiasm and skill seen in the pilot schools, we have every reason to expect rapid and substantial progress." - Michael Barber, head of the Department for Education and Employment's schools standards and effectiveness unit. DFEE website, 2001 "I have been increasingly concerned at the discernible drop in both motivation and performance of youngsters in the early part of secondary education - too little is currently expected of pupils."

- David Blunkett, Education Secretary, North of England education conference, January 2000.

"Secondary schools will not accept this level of detail and control over what they teach. This is control freakery of the worst sort."

- John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, April 2001.

"The Government doesn't seem t realise that the teachers who are teaching key stage 3 are also introducing the new post-16 curriculum, preparing students for exams and are required to teach a new GCSE syllabus and there is an issue about managing all of this."

- Sue Kirkham, head of Walton high school in Staffordshire, which is piloting the KS3 strategy.

"We estimate that up to two out of every five pupils fail to make expected progress during the year immediately following the change of school. This hiatus in progress is also accompanied by a decline in motivation towards some subjects."

- The Homerton Report by Maurice Galton, John Gray and Jean Rudduck, Homerton College, Cambridge, 1998 "Although pupils begin their secondary education enthusiastically, there is a tendency for motivation to fall away in Years 8 and 9. The pace of learning also slows and, on average, pupils only improve by one national curriculum level in the core subjects during the three years of key stage 3."

- Chief inspector Mike Tomlinson's annual report 1999-2000

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