Mick Brookes: What are we doing to our children in the name of assessment?

Share
Related Topics

I apologise for the fact that in two weeks' time England's Year 6 children will be going through the same farcical testing system that should have been abolished many years ago.

But I do not apologise to anyone for joining with our colleagues in the National Union of Teachers to ensure that 2009 really is the last year that England's children, their teachers, their schools and their communities are subject to this tyranny.

We do have a real moral dilemma faced by others throughout history, when rules, regulations or regimes block the greater good. For example: Without civil disobedience women would not have the vote. Without civil disobedience the right to roam on places like Kinder Scout would not have happened.

But let me be clear, we have no desire whatsoever to be in conflict with the Government, but it appears we are given no option.

We are told that a boycott would be "disruptive to pupils and parents". Colleagues – this beggars belief on the back of the ETS scandal last year, where the only credit that the Department for Children, Schools and Families can claim is that they managed to salvage some of the millions of pounds of taxpayers' money invested in that company.

What is disrupting to pupils is the intrusion into high-quality primary education in Key Stage 2 where good teachers are pressurised into teaching for the test for up to 10 hours a week.

What is disrupting and demeaning to pupils is having four years' work assessed by a 45-minute test. What is disrupting to parents is having their child miserable in the very year that they should be revelling in the zenith of their primary years.

Colleagues, I have evidence of children coming in to take the tests despite the fact that they are ill, have broken limbs or have to take the test with a sick bucket nearby in case they throw up. What are we doing to these children in the name of politically motivated independent assessment?

We have also been told that we risk damage to the standing of the profession. I say we risk greater damage and recruitment to the profession by allowing this nonsense to continue.



This is an edited extract from a speech given by the General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers to its annual conference in Brighton yesterday

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Retail Business Analyst

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Ecommerce/Retail/E...

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Lada became a symbol of Russia’s failure to keep up with Western economies  

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
The Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, has been dubbed ‘Bibi’s brain’  

Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire

Patrick Cockburn
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz