Secondary schools setting own tests

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Secondary schools are testing 11-year-old students themselves because they lack confidence in national curriculum test results.

Headteachers believe too many pupils are being coached for maths and English tests throughout their last year at primary school to improve the school's league table position.

They may reach the required standard in the national curriculum tests but lack the necessary comprehension to improve their standards - and are forced to sit new tests three months later.

Sir Cyril Taylor, chairman of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, saidthere was not enough emphasis on oral reading skills in the national curriculum tests, which could help determine a child's reading confidence.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the national curriculum tests were designed to show what a pupil could achieve at 11 - but secondary schools wanted to know they could be expected to achieve by the age of 16. As a result, it was necessary to carry out more cognitive tests to determine what targets to set for individual pupils.He doubted whether schools could bring pupils in during the summer holidays as many would be away.