Nine in ten schools shun Patten's tests for 14-year-olds

FEWER than one in 10 schools will complete this week's compulsory national tests for 14- year-olds, it was revealed yesterday. A protest by secondary-school teachers will make it impossible for any comparison of school results to be carried out and will cause deep embarrassment to the embattled Secretary of State for Education, John Patten.

A group representing more than 350 secondary schools says that only a handful of its members will conduct the tests in English, mathematics and science and report the results to the Government, and that the take-up could be as low as 5 per cent.

Leaders of the main headteachers' organisations have backed the view of the National Co-ordinating Committee on Learning and Assessment (NCCLA), of which 350 secondary schools are members, that as few as 30,000 of the 600,000 14-year-olds in England and Wales may take the tests.

Last year, the three main teachers' unions boycotted the tests in protest at the extra workload they created and the fact that their results could be used to compile league tables. They were cancelled in all but a few hundred of the country's 4,000 secondary schools, and in response Mr Patten agreed to slim down both the national curriculum and testing. The National Union of Teachers is the only union still boycotting, but it now looks as if other teachers are not prepared to carry out the tests this year.

Mr Patten faces a difficult decision on whether to let the matter drop or to take action against teachers who boycott the tests. Although there is no statutory duty on them to carry out the tests, they may be in breach of their contracts of employment if they refuse to do so.

Few local authorities seem likely to dock their pay for the offence, although Wandsworth, in south London, is recruiting retired teachers and inspectors to carry out the tests and individual schools in other areas may follow suit.

Although almost all schools have requested copies of the test papers, few are expected to complete marking and reporting the results. Some will be unable to do so because of the boycott by the NUT. Others have decided that they do not like the tests or that their results could be used in league tables.

David Martin, headteacher of Chenderit School in Oxfordshire and convenor of the NCCLA, said that very few of the schools in the group would carry out all the tests and report the results. He added that his school would not test children unless their parents specifically asked for them to be tested. So far, no one had requested this.

He said: 'We still feel that the tests are unreliable and invalid, and that nationally we could do a lot better than this. They are short tests which don't give you any help in the process of diagnosing children's problems.'

The cancellation of the teachers' boycott by two of the three main unions had had little effect, he said. In many schools, headteachers and staff from all unions were in agreement that the tests should not go ahead.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said some schools would simply cancel all the tests, while others would do them but would not forward the results to their local authorities.

Some headteachers who have spoken out on the issue have received strongly worded letters from the Department for Education reminding them of their obligations. The subject that has proved most controversial is English, with compulsory papers on Shakespeare for all but the least able pupils.

Anne Barnes, general secretary of the National Association for the Teaching of English, said some English teachers might use some of the papers, though they would not necessarily carry out the tests this week and the results would not be reported.

'I think most English teachers will boycott the tests. Whatever happens it will be a hopeless muddle,' she said.

Tests for seven- and 11- year-olds are also likely to yield a low return from schools this year, as most NUT members are in primary schools. Schools were given from February until June to complete tests for seven-year-olds, and from April until July to complete those for 11-year-olds, which are voluntary this year.

Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments