« 'Vote Conservative or get stabbed by people who may well be black' | Main | The return of secondary picketing »


better solution.. drop the SATs

Bloody private sector screwing things up again. Bring it back in-house.

Why Norm? As a father of a 10 year old I'm glad we can see how she is doing on a national basis.
ETS do see to have a pretty poor reputation though.

Wouldn't it be better to teach them more rather than spending their time learning for and taking exams so you can find out how little they know because they have spent all their time up just so you can find that out!

It does rather detract from the standard mantra of public sector bad/private sector good.

The fact that contracting-out might have been cheaper than in-house certainly hasn't made it better.

don't you just want to slap the muntner in the photo?

Doesn't work like that Norm.You shouldn't believe everything the teaching Unions have to say on the subject.

It should be given to the big firms who do the GCSEs and A-levels, ie AQA, OCR and Edexcel.

I'm a mother, not a teacher and I'm sorry to say Norm is right -it does work like that throughout the SATs and at GCSE too. Teaching is now totally exam-focused but the exams are so dumbed down the results tell you very little - a complete waste of time
I wouldn't go so far as to abolish SATs but they need to be completely rethought - and let state schools do the IGCSE, which is more like the old O level..

Will W,
You must be kidding!!!!
Edexcel et al have been messing things up for A level and GCSE pupils every summer.
It seems to me these exam boards are more focused on fiddling about with the curriculum so they can make wads of money selling new text books and "teacher resources" every year. Not that they do that very well either. Presumably because they are rushed off the press the text books my daughters use aren't properly proof-read and are full of mistakes.
Setting and marking exams properly is clearly not a priority nowadays.

Didn't the Universities run the exams boards in days gone by? Given their self-interest in maintaining standards (they have to work with the product) that sounds a much better idea.

What compensation does this business have to offer e.g. 10% discount if one week late, or 20% for two weeks late, discount the amount off the bill per school affected and this could be passed back to the schools especially the primary schools that will incur extra postage costs once the term ends and the children have left the school. That might get them to concentrate better for the next four years that the contract has to run.

Kids are now sitting at 'O' level what I did in 2nd form. My 'O' level questions now turn up on 'A' level papers. My kids' homework questions don't even qualify as mental arithmetic IMHO. The last graduate I employed was a joke and did not even understand the basics of his subject.

The whole education system stinks and isn't worth of wet f*rt! It needs ripping out and starting again.

Deborah, Edexcel et al have always done my GCSEs and both my A-level years. I found them to be efficient and fair. They even have an online service that allows you to get them early.

Sure, they may do some shoddy books, but as the SATs fiasco is about marking and not books, I see no problem with using them.

Not my exprience at all Debroah.Altough my daughter is only in junior school so I have no experience of GCSEs yet. Perhaps it varies from school to school.

I do hope the system changes before your daughter gets far into secondary.
I am sure it does vary from school to school - but my experience is probably better than many others. Our local school is one of the better state schools.

Doesn't work like that Norm.You shouldn't believe everything the teaching Unions have to say on the subject.
I have no contact with the teaching unions, but with some teachers (who are not even members of a union) who would like to get on and teach but are having to put even year 2s through tests meaning they are teaching how to pass a test and only what might come up in it- and if they don't then it could end up with the school losing funding.
So they end up stuck in the middle of upset kids, angry parents and stressed management.

All just to compile some statistics.

"but as the SATs fiasco is about marking and not books"

Problems with Edexcel exams have been reported since 2002. A quick search of the web will pick up that they've been criticised for errors in papers, using secretaries to mark papers, losing papers, etc, etc. Doesn't sound like the sort of reliable outfit we should be entrusting our children's educational future to.

Do you realise that no one watches over the schools when they administer the tests at KS2. Kids are given prompts by their teachers and support assistants and told to redo an answer if they get it wrong. Schools do get visits from time to time, but on the whole there are few checks. Primary heads cheat to make their schools look good.

Equally, the SATs paper are not kept secret. Some markers get to see them in advance of the test - if you teach as well as mark this is bound to be a temptation.

Deborah, it's even worse at A Level. With AS and A2 level, 2 out of the 6 terms are dedicated to examination. A whole term of teaching has been lost as a result.

There is no time at all for teaching anything other than what is examined.

I took my A Levels 4 years ago, but the system seems exactly the same now as it did then.

You are right. My daughter did English at A level and had her first AS exams immediately after Christmas, after less than three months of teaching. She then had mock AS exams in April followed by more real exams in June. Whatever happened to the idea of pupils spending the lower sixth learning about their subject and getting some breadth?

I've just posted the following on today's main comments page before I saw this post so apologies for the double posting!

PoliticsHome is reporting Ed Balls' pathetic display on Channel 4 News this evening:

"Mr Balls distanced himself from the SATs marking scandal.

“I’ve operated this at arms length. I’m not the person who on a daily basis has been dealing with this.

“It’s better that it’s arms length from ministers… and I’m accountable to Parliament for schools policy,” he said."

Great to see that the principle of ministerial responsibility is alive and well! If the Schools Minister hasn't been dealing with this fiasco then who the heck has? So what?!

From direct experience I know that, in the absense of SAT results, schools are setting children for GCSEs on the basis of three year old data. Children are being denied triple science, for example, on the basis that three years ago they didn’t score highly science.

This fiasco has very direct impact upon children’s futures but what’s the bets that the civil servant responsible will get a £300K pay-off when they resign?

The current nonsenses in education including SATS were started by the Conservative Party - not only that, by Keith Joseph!

The education system in this country is free, compulsory and organised by the government. No wonder it's useless.

The countries with the most successful educational outcomes have very small fee-paying sectors, spend more on education than we do, and don't start formal schooling until age six. The strength of the fee-paying sector in this country is the most important factor affecting educational outcomes and societal divisions. That said, primary school education in particular has improved immensely in the last 10 years.

Passing Leftie, have you had your own children in the primary school sector in the past 10 years?

Which Country spends more on education than we do and doesn't start formal schooling until the child is six?

Passing Leftie, have you had your own children in the primary school sector in the past 10 years?

Which Country spends more on education than we do and doesn't start formal schooling until the child is six?

Yes, and Sweden.

My children are currently educated in non-demoninational multi-ethnic state primary school. Every primary school teacher I know thinks that resources have improved over the past ten years - significantly, and this has improved standards.

In Sweden children get an optional guaranteed placed in a public day care facility from 1-5, then formal education begins age 6. They spend about 9.4% GDP on education compared with our about 5.6% (up from 5% in 1997). The small number of independent schools are not allowed to receive fees from parents.

There are other examples if that doesn't suffice.

Thanks for the information.

I'm intrigued as to why you quote % spend against GDP? Are we comparing like for like, do Sweden for example spend anything like the UK on our civil service? and a similar % to us on local government costs?

Well passing leftie you obviously don't know all primary schools, my daughter's local primary school - not far from London - has abysmal funding and seems to almost rely on the hard work of parents like my daughter to raise funds, by all sorts of out of school ways. The facilities are limited, the teachers are leaving and classes combined together. And this is not an isolated village school, its within the commuter belt. There was no plan to start reading until next year when the class wold be coming up for six yrs old!

In desperation my daughter took her child away having found a small private school, where all the class already read!!!, so her child has had to work extra hard, with her help to try and catch up, and it was the same with writing!

I have mentioned before on this website tht I would like to see a proper audit of WHERE all the thousands of pounds of taxpayers money - exactly where - actually got spent, both in education and in the NHS! I think that if one could ever get an honest audit, it would be VERY revealing!!!

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker