Student teachers to mark tests

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The Independent Online
Trainee teachers are being recruited to mark controversial school tests because of an apparent shortage of external examiners.

Teacher training institutions have been sent a letter by one examining board seeking to fill vacancies in key stage 3 English and key stage 2 science subjects. It says "some familiarity" with the national curriculum would be useful.

The move has caused outrage among classroom teachers and lecturers. It is expected to cause deeper divisions within the National Union of Teachers. NUT leaders are recommending an end to the all-out boycott on tests, but 17 of the 40-strong national executive have pledged to keep up the ban.

The letter was sent by the London Examination and Assessment Council requesting that heads of education departments should ask their students to volunteer for the work, due in May and June.

Yesterday the NUT leadership reacted angrily to the plan, but said it was still committed to ending the boycott to allow a full Government review to go ahead.

Doug McAvoy, NUT general secretary, said: "We are not happy at all with students or newly-qualified people being used who may have no experience of the national curriculum and no experience of teaching in classrooms.''

Bernard Regan, one of the rebel members of the NUT executive, said: "It is outrageous to use student teachers. It just goes to show how desperate they must be. It certainly vindicates our stance on maintaining the boycott.''

Five GCSE examining groups have been contracted to recruit external examiners as part of a £30m package which the Government says has met concerns over teachers' workloads. Key stage 3 is the testing for 14-year-olds; stage 2 is for 11-year-olds.

Chris Husbands, senior lecturer in education at the University of East Anglia - which received the letter - said: ``We are supposed to be in an era of standards. We will not be passing this on to our students. We would be unhappy, schools would be unhappy and parents would be furious, especiallly as the Government is planning to publish the results.''

The Schools Curriculum Assessment Authority revealed two GCSE examining boards were using targeted recruitment. David Hawker, test development manager, said that to use trainee teachers for certain parts of the work would be appropriate provided they were properly qualified with the relevant degrees. "We are confident the examining groups which have responsibility for recruitment on our behalf will meet the target of 13,000 external markers.''

Teacher training institutions have been sent a letter by one examining board seeking to fill vacancies in key stage 3 English and key stage 2 science subjects. It says "some familiarity" with the national curriculum would be useful.

The move has caused outrage among classroom teachers and lecturers. It is expected to cause deeper divisions within the National Union of Teachers. NUT leaders are recommending an end to the all-out boycott on tests, but 17 of the 40-strong national executive have pledged to keep up the ban.

The letter was sent by the London Examination and Assessment Council requesting that heads of education departments should ask their students to volunteer for the work, due in May and June.

Yesterday the NUT leadership reacted angrily to the plan, but said it was still committed to ending the boycott to allow a full Government review to go ahead.

Doug McAvoy, NUT general secretary, said: "We are not happy at all with students or newly-qualified people being used who may have no experience of the national curriculum and no experience of teaching in classrooms.''

Bernard Regan, one of the rebel members of the NUT executive, said: "It is outrageous to use student teachers. It just goes to show how desperate they must be. It certainly vindicates our stance on maintaining the boycott.''

Five GCSE examining groups have been contracted to recruit external examiners as part of a £30m package which the Government says has met concerns over teachers' workloads. Key stage 3 is the testing for 14-year-olds; stage 2 is for 11-year-olds.

Chris Husbands, senior lecturer in education at the University of East Anglia - which received the letter - said: ``We are supposed to be in an era of standards. We will not be passing this on to our students. We would be unhappy, schools would be unhappy and parents would be furious, especiallly as the Government is planning to publish the results.''

The Schools Curriculum Assessment Authority revealed two GCSE examining boards were using targeted recruitment. David Hawker, test development manager, said that to use trainee teachers for certain parts of the work would be appropriate provided they were properly qualified with the relevant degrees. "We are confident the examining groups which have responsibility for recruitment on our behalf will meet the target of 13,000 external markers.''

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