Leaked English tests scrapped by Patten

THE ENGLISH tests prepared for 14-year-olds this summer will be scrapped and a new set of questions written, John Patten, Secretary of State for Education, said yesterday.

But he rejected calls by teachers' organisations for the tests to be converted into a national trial, and said that the results of this summer's tests would be published to parents.

The tests, which were tried with 15-year-olds in November, have been leaked by a teacher. In a letter to Lord Griffiths, chairman of the School Examinations and Assessment Council, Mr Patten said it was clear that 'the current version of these tests has become public'. Lord Griffiths has offered to commission new test papers based on the same format as those piloted in schools for two years, and Mr Patten is confident they will be ready in time for use in all state secondary schools in June. The rewritten tests will be tried out in a handful of schools before Easter.

The first tests for 11-year-olds are due to be held this summer. The National Association of Head Teachers, which represents most primary head teachers, has urged members to boycott them.

Mr Patten said pupils had been following the curriculum for more than two academic years and it was 'only right and fair' that they should have a chance to take tests. 'Parents want to know how well their children are doing. The public has a right to know about the standards in our schools. For all these reasons, the tests will go ahead in June as we have planned,' he said.

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