Exam focus damaging pupils' mental health, says NUT – BBC News

A report on a survey of 8,000 teachers and a review of the research.

The report sponsors observe…

“Many of the young people Young Minds works with say that they feel completely defined by their grades and that this is very detrimental to their wellbeing and self-esteem.”

It seems that at least some of their teachers do indeed (reluctantly) define them that way…

One junior school teacher said: “I am in danger of seeing them more in terms of what colour they are in my pupils’ list eg are they red (below expectation), green (above expectation) or purples (Pupil Premium) – rather than as individuals.”

Indeed, it appears to be endemic…

Kevin Courtney, deputy general-secretary of the NUT, said: “Teachers at the sharp end are saying this loud and clear, ‘If it isn’t relevant to a test then it is not seen as a priority.’

“The whole culture of a school has become geared towards meeting government targets and Ofsted expectations. As this report shows, schools are on the verge of becoming ‘exam factories’.”

He argued the accountability agenda was “damaging children’s experience of education”, which should be joyful and leave them with “a thirst for knowledge for the rest of their lives”.

This is terrible and tragic. So surely the British government is trying to do something about it? Not so much…

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Part of our commitment to social justice is the determination to ensure every child is given an education that allows them realise their potential.

“That’s why we are raising standards with a rigorous new curriculum, world class exams and new accountability system that rewards those schools which help every child to achieve their best.”

Helping people to realise their potential is a noble aim. A “rigorous new curriculum, world class exams and new accountability system” is a guaranteed way to prevent that from happening. Duh. Didn’t those that run the UK government learn anything in their expensive private schools? Oh…

Address of the bookmark: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-33380155

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology and teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems, of which I am the Chair. I am married, with two grown-up children, and live in beautiful Vancouver.

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