Heads oppose new punctuation and spelling test
Published: 6th May 2012 15:52:51
Head teachers say they will disrupt a new spelling, grammar and punctuation test to be introduced in England's primary schools next summer.
The SPAG test will be sat by pupils at the end of primary school as part of their national curriculum tests (SATs).
But the National Association of Head Teachers said the new tests were "a waste of taxpayers' money".
The Department for Education said the tests were in response to concerns from universities and employers.
But the association has voted to explore ways of ensuring "this flawed test does not take place".
Introducing a motion to disrupt the "technical English" tests, Milton Keynes head teacher Tony Draper said teachers should be left to assess pupils in spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Mr Draper said the new test from 2013 would cost millions of pounds to administer - money that would be better spent on teacher training and learning.
It will lead to further narrowing of the curriculum, teaching to the tests”
"It will lead to further narrowing of the curriculum, teaching to the tests and increased misery for our year six students and their families already sick of a diet of practice SATs and drills.
"Trust us to assess all our children's writing this year and every year or we will not cooperate with any future tests."
The conference voted almost unanimously (98.8%) to find ways of stopping the test going ahead.
But a spokeswoman for the DfE said: "Too little attention has been given to spelling and handwriting in exams over the past decade.
"Employers expect people with high grades to be able to communicate and write effectively, so it's right to restore specific assessment of these vital skills."
The vote came as NAHT general secretary, Russell Hobby, said the association could boycott a controversial new reading test for six-year-olds in England if it was used as "a stick to beat schools".
Mr Hobby said the initiative should only be used as a genuine test to assess pupils, rather than to measure schools.
Two years ago the NAHT boycotted Year 6 SATs and following this the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, set up a review of the tests headed by Lord Bew.
As a result, this year's tests - which will be sat by 11-year-olds in England next week - will be the first under a new regime.
The writing test - the one most criticised by heads and teachers as an inaccurate assessment of what their pupils can achieve - will, for the first time, be assessed by teachers on the pupils' work during the year rather than an end-of-year test externally marked.
But the NAHT is angry that the government has got rid of one externally-marked test and effectively replaced with another in the SPAG test.
At 23:35:48 in WorldA young girl offered US First Lady Michelle Obama her father's CV during questions at the White House's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
At 23:12:26 in SportFormula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone made his first appearance in a Munich court on Thursday, accused of giving a £27.5m ($45m, 33m euros) bribe to a German banker.
At 22:51:02 in EntertainmentA village museum in East Sussex will go up against Tate Britain and the new £35m Mary Rose Museum in a contest to be named the UK's museum of the year.
At 22:42:55 in BusinessBarclays agreed to a $280m (£167m) settlement with the US Federal Housing and Finance Authority (FHFA).
At 22:30:17 in EnglandThe government says it is making "urgent inquiries" into reports Whitehall computers were used to make insulting comments about the Hillsborough disaster.
At 22:22:33 in HeadlinesRussia and the US have accused each other of failing to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine after Kiev launched raids on pro-Moscow separatists.
At 22:19:49 in SportWorld number one Rafael Nadal booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open with a 6-3 6-3 win over Croatian Ivan Dodig.
At 22:13:15 in SportFormer Rangers, Hearts and Scotland defender Sandy Jardine has died at the age of 65.
At 22:00:20 in PoliticsThe zero-hours contract - alongside the payday loan and the bad bank - has gained a kind of totemic significance in the public imagination.
At 22:00:03 in ScotlandScottish independence would leave working people north and south of the border worse off, Ed Miliband has claimed.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Heads oppose new punctuation and spelling test [Online] (Updated 6th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1426853/Heads-oppose-new-punctuation-and-spelling-test [Accessed 25th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
The zero-hours contract - alongside the payday loan and the bad bank - has gained a kind of totemic significance in the public imagination.
Scottish independence would leave working people north and south of the border worse off, Ed Miliband has claimed.
A young girl offered US First Lady Michelle Obama her father's CV during questions at the White House's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
A 15 year-old girl has been cut free after becoming trapped in a children's swing in a park in Denbighshire.
Ten candidates will be vying for three European parliament seats in Northern Ireland, it has been confirmed.