Four out of five want less testing in schools

By Jonathan Moore

An overwhelming majority of the public think there’s too much testing in schools, according to a poll.

The results indicate a groundswell of support for the views of teaching unions, who argue the national curriculum is restricting teaching and that there’s too much testing in schools.

Of those polled, 87 percent said they thought the national curriculum was stifling the creativity of teaching while a majority, 53 percent, said they were very sympathetic with the view that children are being over-tested.

A further 27 percent said they were quite sympathetic while only 20 percent felt the amount of testing was fine.

Opinion was more divided on the question of whether key subjects such as maths and English should be taught under a curriculum with other subjects given a free rein.

Almost half, 47 per cent, said they thought it was a bad idea with only 20 percent agreeing it was good while an equal number, 13 percent, thought it was either a very good idea or a very bad one.

The results come at a bad time for the government which is struggling to find a solution to the testing problem, with threats of strike action coming from all sides.

Last week the National Union of Teachers (NUT) unanimously voted to boycott SATs for seven and 11-year-olds with the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) due to hold a similar ballot at their conference next month.

Delegates said the tests were harming children’s education because too much time was spent preparing for them by schools anxious to achieve a good league table ranking.

However, on Thursday the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) conference threatened industrial action if the tests were scrapped.

They complained their workload would have to increase without the exams as they would have to perform time-consuming internal tests.

Schools secretary Ed Balls admitted he felt he was “between a rock and a hard place”.

The bad news for the government doesn’t end there, as our poll found a massive 87 percent of people feel the government has performed very badly on education, with no respondents feeling they had done particularly well.

When asked whether the Tories would do any better, a majority – 60 percent – agreed they would.