Letter: Pressure on schools

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Sir: As the husband of a primary school teacher and parent of three children passing through the maintained education system, I should like to respond to Mr Woodhead's remarks ("Why testing is no enemy of children's creativity", 20 July).

I have reluctantly reached the conclusion that in the primary sector the so-called culture of accountability has begun to go much too far.

In my wife's small six teacher school there is now imposed a detailed and prescriptive eight-tiered planning system (yearly, termly, half-termly, weekly, daily, literacy hour, numeracy hour and plans for individual pupils) the format of which constantly changes and which takes each teacher many hours a week to complete.

The effects of virtually every area of school activity have now been monitored, recorded and "evidenced".

In the autumn term my wife's school will undergo its third inspection in six years.

We need to be asking at what point it all begins to become counter-productive. That point has long been passed in the primary school sector. The planning and inspection regime seems to be wholly disproportionate.

It is hardly surprising that teachers who are in a position to do so, my wife among them, are beginning to think seriously about leaving the profession.

J M BATTEN

Dorchester, Dorset

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