Education Secretary Nicky Morgan was interrupted several times by headteachers in her speech on Saturday as she endorsed tougher testing standards for primary pupils. Morgan rubbished the concerned that many schools would struggle to meet the crucial “floor standard” while addressing the angered headteachers.
The new standards will impose tougher spelling, grammar and punctuation tests for seven and 11-years-olds at Key Stage 1 and 2. However, several parents and teachers have raised concerns that the new standards are setting children up to fail. Ms Morgan was heckled several times during her speech to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) in Birmingham as she stressed that examinations right was “critical.” She explained that “we all agree it’s critical that we get primary assessment right, with tests fit for purpose, because mastering the basics in primary school is vital to the future success of young people,” adding that she did not “accept the claim from some outside this hall, that the higher expectations embodied in the new national curriculum are somehow ‘inappropriate.’”
Whereas on the other hand, the general secretary of the NAHT, Russell Hobby, elucidated that “we were really, really worried that there was going to be a lot of schools going in to the summer assuming they are failing schools as a result of the changes.” It was pointed out that “we’ve learnt very clearly today that there will be – within a 1% margin of error – no more schools below the floor this year than there were last year” and “that’s very significant because I think many people assume that there will be tens of thousands of schools failing at the moment and what we know is that it won’t be that. It’s in the hundreds, not the thousands.”
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