Opinion Former Article

NUT: Primary schools set higher targets

Commenting on the Government’s move to raise test result targets in English and maths from 60% to 65%, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union said:

‘This move is more about forcing primary schools into academy conversion than it is about ‘standards’. Primary schools have shown little interest in the Government’s academy programme. It is shocking that a government policy which has been roundly rejected for sound educational and practical reasons is being foisted on schools by which ever desperate means the Government can think up.

‘It is interesting to note that all the jurisdictions which Mr Gove claims to admire because of their international rankings in OECD Pisa tests put creativity and problem solving at the heart of the curriculum. If schools have to concentrate heavily, in a mechanistic and test focused way on English and maths for fear of being described as ‘underperforming’ that creativity will be further squeezed out of teaching and learning for primary age children.

‘If we are to have an engaged population capable of asking critical questions, and thinking creatively about society and life, young people have to experience a curriculum in schools that provides those skills and the space to develop those capacities. This will not be possible if it is arbitrary assessment targets that leads and drives the curriculum.

‘We have to ask some fundamental questions about the purpose of education, its content and how we assess and record young people’s strengths and successes as they progress through the education system. Mr Gove would do well to talk with and listen to members of the NUT who have much useful advice and guidance to offer on this’.

END               PR35-2013
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