Nick Clegg denied that plans to test five-year-olds and rank primary school pupils would turn the education system into an “exam sausage factory”.
The Deputy Prime Minister hit back after teachers’ leaders criticised his proposals to overhaul the testing regime in primary schools.
Under the moves, five-year-olds would be tested for the first time and their progress tracked through school.
When they reach 11, and are about to go to secondary school, they would be ranked and placed in ten per cent bands on a national scale.
Parents would be told the positions of their sons and daughters, but the information would not be published.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “The Government has a fondness for testing young children in the belief that the tests create reliable measures of performance.
“They don’t, and by relying only on what can be measured, they risk missing what matters. There is far more to being ‘secondary-ready’ than a score on an hour’s test.”
Mr Clegg said: “I’ve got young children at primary school - I don’t want my children to become part of some sort of exam sausage factory.
“But what I do want for my children, what all parents want and what all teachers want, is to make sure that when a child starts secondary school they are self-confident, they are ready to mix with other children, they are ready to learn.”
He said the plans would be accompanied by a large increase in the pupil premium, cash allocated to help youngsters from poorer backgrounds.Reuse content