Most parents 'oppose this year's tests'

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The Independent Online
TWO-THIRDS of parents are opposed to the Government's tests for 7- year-olds being carried out this year, and almost three-quarters oppose the tests for 14-year-olds, according to a survey by the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations.

These results add to an increasingly confused picture of parents' views, flatly contradicting the poll of 1,000 parents commissioned by John Patten, the Secretary of State for Education, published yesterday, which found that more than half wanted the tests to go ahead. A third poll, carried out by NOP for the Independent earlier this month, showed that just over half of parents were opposed to this year's tests. All three main teacher unions are boycotting this term's tests.

The NCPTA, whose members were caricatured by Mr Patten earlier this year as 'Neanderthals', distributed ballot papers to 9,504 parent-teacher associations and received replies from 2,580 (26.5 per cent). Margaret Morrissey, of the NCPTA, said 'in most cases' each association had surveyed as many parents as possible.

Associations were asked: 'Are you in favour of standard assessment tests going ahead this year?' For 7-year- olds, 66.6 per cent answered No, 14.4 per cent Yes, and 13.9 per cent were undecided. For 14-year-olds, 73.5 per cent said No, 8.5 per cent Yes, with 18 per cent undecided.

A spokesman at the Department for Education said: 'This survey seems to be self-selecting and is not a representative sample of all parent-teacher associations.'