Tests aren’t everything

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Primary schools are under more pressure than ever before to perform well in tests and achieve better grades in an ever-changing Ofsted inspection system.

Test results in English and maths are a key source of information for inspectors and are also used to place schools in league tables.

Let us be clear, these tests results are useful – they help schools find out what children know and what they need to know to improve. But surely the many other areas of learning need to be celebrated?

If academic performance in English and maths is the only area considered important enough to be measured, what message does that send to the child who is a brilliant footballer, a fantastic musician or a talented artist?

Schools need to get the balance right.

By over-rating the importance of tests in English and maths, primary schools run the risk of denying children who excel in other areas.

Academic success should not be the only model of educational achievement.

It may keep the politicians happy but in the long run this approach will do very little to cultivate the varied talents of our young people.

Every primary school child is different and all children have the potential to shine at something.

An effective primary school remembers this and does its best to ensure that all children will experience a balanced range of learning experiences – whether they are the most gifted or the most academically challenged.

· If you are school, college or higher education head who would like to write a column for The News please email aline.nassif@thenews.co.uk