Letter: Exams: the strain is the number, not the questions

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Sir: I have just returned from a conference in Prague organised by the European Forum for Freedom in Education (which is based in Germany) attended by representatives from 30 countries.

It was very disheartening to realise that while the education systems in most of the other countries represented (including Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania as well as Denmark, Holland and Germany) are moving towards greater freedom in education - which means less state control, greater diversity of educational provision and state funding for new initiatives - Britain alone is moving backwards in terms of freedom.

Freedom of education is a fundamental human right which is enshrined in no fewer than 16 international declarations, and without it we cannot be said to have a free society.

Why is Britain, yet again, bucking the trend, with John Patten still insisting on a centralised education system in which the Secretary of State dictates terms to our nation's schools? He's got a thing or two to learn from Europe.

Yours faithfully,


National Co-ordinator

Human Scale Education



14 June