Reduce Exam Focus

Tony Little, the Headmaster of Eton school, has made a statement saying that too much focus on exams and testing children could be dangerous for their wellbeing. The head claims that primary schools are placing too much weight on the results of test papers and the students’ ability to pass ritualised exams instead of focusing on the child as an individual being.

Approach to Learning is too Mechanical

He was stated as saying Young people have a tremendous energy and power and as a nation we don’t harness it. This ritualised, mechanical approach to learning which is beginning to sweep through the Western world, I think, is hugely dangerous for all of us.” Which refers to the frequent tests and exams our pupils have to undergo throughout their educational lives.

A Compromise in Creativity

5311913053_3fa4750a11_bThe head has also warned that adopting the Chinese method for placing a higher importance of exams on children, would compromise creativity and the power of the individual.

Such decisions could lead us towards a more totalitarian state that eerily mirrors that of George Orwell’s infamous Novel “1984”.

It is important that equal importance if not more importance is placed on the child’s ability and imagination as an individual so that test results and grades do not become the only thing representative of a child’s intellectual worth.

The Importance of Learning Times Tables for Primary School Children

New plans revealed by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan will see children expected to fully know their times tables by the time they finish primary school. This will be done using an ‘on-screen check’ examination which is being piloted by around 3,000 students in 80 schools this year. If the on-screen check is a success, the test will be fully implemented countrywide in 2017.

It is said that both children and teachers will be judged by the results of the tests. And while people may not see a useful ‘application’ of the times tables in everyday life, once you start to dig a little deeper, it becomes apparent that Maths is as much an essential part of our life as the concept of energy in – energy out. The introduction of these tests will continue to bring to light the crucial role that a good maths education will play for children coming into the world as capable adults.

UntitledMixed Responses

While the introduction of these tests could spell out a new focus given the importance of the times tables, there are those who have expressed doubt at the method of learning being used. While tests are currently one of the only ways to accurately gather data on how children are learning and progressing, some primary teachers are worried at the introduction of yet more tests to the syllabus.

Compulsory Testing at Age 4?


The decision has recently been made to introduce compulsory testing for children aged four and five, to get a basic outline of their cognitive abilities when they start school. The tests will take place within the first few weeks of reception class in order to give early years teachers a better understanding of each child’s abilities, so that they can give them the help they need to start learning.


These tests are due to be introduced from 2016, and have received criticism from parents, unions and academics who are concerned that ‘pigeon-holing’ students into set skill ranges at such a young age can only damage their potential to learn. In response to this, the Department of Education has considered abolishing the current key stage one tests that take place when most children are aged seven.

It will be compulsory for all children to complete these tests in reception from 2016, although the decision has been made not to tell Parents of their child’s ranking.

Child assessment has long been subject to tweaks and changes, in order for us to better understand the learning level of children. Do you think four is too early to start testing children? Or do you feel that it is the perfect opportunity to give them the help that they may need? At RedBox Teachers, we always prioritise learning over anything else, so with a whole host of qualified Supply Teachers and Teaching Assistants, you can be sure to find an excellent match here at Redbox, whether you are a supply teacher or teaching assistant looking for new work, or currently work at a school that is looking for new supply teachers.