Scrap tests at seven and 11, teachers say

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The Independent Online

Heads and teachers' leaders call today for the scrapping of this summer's national curriculum tests for seven- and 11-year-olds.

Leaders of the National Union of Teachers and National Association of Head Teachers make a joint plea for them to be made voluntary in the wake of last summer's fiasco when thousands of test results were delayed for months.

The two organisations claim the current testing regime "undermines children's confidence and learning and narrows the curriculum by encouraging teaching to the test". They argue that last year's problems give ministers a golden opportuntity to get experts to review the testing apparatus.

They believe there is a particularly strong case for compulsory tests to be scrapped this year as the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the national curriculum testing watchdog, has said it cannot guarantee that there will not be further delays to results.

The Schools Secretary Ed Balls has already appointed an expert group to look at whether the tests for 11-year-olds could be changed to allow pupils to sit them when teachers believe they are ready to take them.