§ 4. Mr. Viggers
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a further statement on the testing of children at the age of seven years.
§ Mr. Viggers
Can my hon. Friend confirm that the tests are meant not to be competitive between pupils but on the contrary, to provide a most useful appraisal of their skills in reading, writing, arithmetic and basic science so that their future education can be planned in each case?
§ Mr. Fatchett
Is it not clear from this year's tests that the assessment system told teachers little new about the children in their charge, involved a great deal of teacher and student time, diverted attention from other children in the same class, and cost the taxpayer a great deal of money for Government experimentation? Against that background, would it not have been sensible for the Minister, 847 to avoid the embarrassment and criticism that he faced at the headteachers' conference, to take the advice given to him by his right hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Sir R. Boyson) and to listen, for once, to the advice coming from teachers and to use the expertise of individual teachers, rather than simply going ahead with a scheme based on the Government's own misplaced and outdated ideology?
§ Mr. David Shaw
Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the main purposes of the tests is to test the effectiveness and quality of the education provided by local authorities, by the teachers, and by the governing bodies which run our schools, whereas under the last Labour Government there was no effective monitoring of the quality of education in schools?