Letter: School tests: pluses and minuses

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Sir: I write as an Oxford physics graduate and headteacher of an 11- to-18 comprehensive school. Until this morning I had, along with all colleagues of my acquaintance, considerable doubts about the national curriculum testing regime. Henceforth, having read page 7 of the Department for Education's leaflet 'How is Your Child Doing at School', all doubts are removed. I now know that, as a result of the Government's reforms, a typical 16- year-old should be able to 'know how gravity works'. How envious Newton and Einstein would have been] I trust that John Patten will be writing to Stephen Hawking to let him know that the solution to one of the fundamental mysteries of physics is now common knowledge in our schools. I wait with bated breath for the department's solution to: 'What is electricity?'

Yours faithfully,


Howden School

Goole, North Humberside

7 May