Letter: Irony of English exam regulations

Sir: I find it ironic that one of the passages selected for comprehension in the English examination for 14-year-olds this summer is Christy Brown's My Left Foot.

One of the less well-publicised travesties of the School Examinations and Assessment Council's proposals concerns the arrangements for children with special needs. One of the students at the school where I am head of English has cerebral palsy. Although he is of normal intelligence and well able to cope with the curriculum in a mainstream school, he can write only using a computer. However, SEAC's regulations state that in the English tests 'mechanical and technological aids may not be used' because handwriting must be assessed.

One of the questions on the paper apparently asks: 'What does the phrase, 'a little bundle of crooked muscles' tell you about Christy's physical appearance?' It certainly tells us he could not get his Key Stage 3 English SATs because he would not be allowed to use his laptop.

Yours sincerely,


Head of English

Rush Croft School

London, E10

20 January