Yesterday bgprior asked, in the comments to my post about scrapping targets, why did this announcement come from Treasury? And well he might, it seems the department it concerns is playing a different tune. Ed Balls (Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families) has told teachers that national testing and school league tables were here to stay. OK, so they didn't say they would scrap all types of meaningless targets, but surely the ridiculous tests and league tables that schools and children are put through are intrinsic to the culture of targets?
These tables have come up for so much criticism in the past few years that many describe them as meaningless. Ed Balls describes them as enabling policymakers to see "what is working, who is not performing well and, in the extremes, being able to tackle poor performance. This is going directly against the professionals who do this education thing for a living and know far better what works and what doesn't compared to a meaningless league table. Teachers have complained that "far from raising standards, over testing encourages a narrow curriculum, alienating students from learning and increasing their anxiety."
Children in this country are the most tested in the world - so that policy makers can compare them to their key stage targets and make policy on a one dimensional piece of evidence. Are we still chasing targets or have we done a u-turn? And what makes policy makers think they know more than the professionals?