Stop School League Tables for five year olds. International Petition Launch

It’s Monday and only a few short days since the international petition to “Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds” was launched. The initial response  has been overwhelming – with such good will and so much understanding of the issues almost as if so many people out there had just been waiting for such an opportunity to come together on this.

So pleased to welcome (amongst many others) some really big names such as Caroline Lucas M.P, Sir Tim Brighouse, Dr. Penelope Leach, Susie Orbach, Professor Michael A. Peters(Professor of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Oliver James (psychologist), Margaret Morrissey (Parents Outloud), Dr. David Whitebread (Cambridge University), Sue Palmer, Fiona Carnie, Dr. Jayne Osgood(Reader at the Inst Education, Professor Pat Broadhead…and more. Noon today already over 200 signatories. We need more. I understand teachers and headteachers may be on their way as we speak…

“Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds” – international petition.

I wanted to thank everybody for taking the time and for all your insightful comments on the petition itself. Very real for me – I took my daughter (aged five) to school this morning and thought about signatory Andrzej Kowalik’s comment:

“Our kids are our investment. We are supposed to love them not treat them like employees”. Yeah. Too right Andrzej. My Gruff-Other- Half-who-loves-little-one-to-the-ends-of-the-earth said: “They’re not wage slaves are they?”.

In quieter moments, waiting for the phone to ring or my email box to ping, I’ve turned my attention to some of the other questionable proposals in the rest of the U.K. coalition education business plan. Amongst them – the reading test at age six(or since we have five year olds in Year 1 too, aged five?) . Apparently, according to a recent article in the Times Educational Supplement “The test is due to be piloted in 200 schools in the week beginning 13 June, 2011”.

Helen Ward who wrote the TES article tells us:

“Children will be given ten seconds per word. The 40 item test will include real words and non-words such as zort and koob.  The test will be adminstered one-t0-one to all Year 1 children”

If this is correct, that means that my summer-born-five-year-old Babes may be given the test too. Just brilliant. I can just see her sitting there getting completely stressed out because they are only going to give them ten seconds per word. Good job I’ve explained quite clearly to her that grown ups (and the government) make mistakes (or indeed tend to do really stupid things sometimes…).

The TES article I’m talking about is entitled:

“Phonics expert labels Year 1 test plans ‘a waste of money’ and it is really worth reading.

 Leading phonics expert Professor Greg Brooks emeritus professor at Sheffield University said a mandatory test at the end of Year 1 is a ‘waste of money’ he believes ‘the money set aside for the reading test would be better spent on providing the resources that children need…what they are proposing he said is horrendous, it is a vast waste of money’.

Well. No surprises there then. The “Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds International Petition” has of necessity a central demand but many hope this petition will enable truly democratic discussion of some of the other questionable measures contained in the Coalition Education Business Plan…like the reading test at age six. (or five?)

And apart from anything else, will someone please let us know how much all these unnecessary and misguided measures cost?

Here is the TES link and here’s that petition link again:

Phonics expert labels Year 1 test plans ‘a waste of money’ written by Helen Ward TES (Geesh. How many parents read the TES on a regular basis?)

Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds – Sign the international petition now (please).

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