14 October 2008

Children, Schools and Families Committee responds to Government statement on national curriculum tests

In welcoming the Secretary of State's statement to the House of Commons on national curriculum tests, the Chairman of the Children, Schools and Families Committee, Barry Sheerman MP, said;

"Our report on testing and assessment made a clear case for urgent reform of the testing system in England. One of the Committee's main concerns was the prevalence of 'teaching to the test' and the burden of testing, and the effect of this on the development of children's wider skills and knowledge. For these reasons I welcome the decision to abolish the national Key Stage 3 tests. I hope that with the abolition of these tests, teachers will have greater freedom to focus on personalised learning, as well as be able to offer children access to a balanced education.

"The abolition of the national tests for 14 year olds will also help address some of the serious problems seen this year in the administration of national tests and should mean that there will be no recurrence of them.

"One of the main recommendations in our report was to ask for sample testing of pupils for the purpose of national monitoring. I am delighted that the Government has now changed its view on sample testing and that it will now be introduced at Key Stage 3.

"It is also good news that the Government will review the current system of Key Stage 1 tests. Given our concerns about the single level tests, I am also pleased that the Government has said that more evidence is needed on single level tests at Key Stage 2 before proceeding nationally."