4th April 2017
Professor Brian Cox: Don't use children as 'measurement probes' to test schools
Science presenter and particle physicist Professor Brian Cox has called for testing in schools to be minimised – and only used when the positive benefits can be proven.
The television scientist said: "I’m unaware of any research that shows that consistent testing is improving standards, and I recoil against using children as measurement probes. Instinctively, I don’t like the idea that children take test after test after test in order to try to measure the performance of the school,” he said.
"However, if there is evidence that actually an increased amount of testing leads to a better educational outcome for the students, then I would accept it."
By the time students are aged 18, he said, they should understand that they are in school in order to learn about the world – not simply to pass tests.
Professor Cox also called for teachers to be given more respect – and money.
"The children you produce determine the society you will have," he said. "So the people who teach the children are amongst the most important people in society and it’s incomprehensible to me that you would have a system that devalued the people who are responsible for the foundation of the society of the future.
"If it were up to me I would increase pay and conditions and levels of responsibility and respect significantly, because it is an investment that would pay itself back many times over in the decades to come."
Headmaster at Prince George's new school hits out at 11-plus exam as he says testing children distracts them from 'wonders of the world'
The headmaster at Prince George's new private school has criticised the 11 plus exam and said that subjecting children to tests distracts them from "the wonders of the world".
Ben Thomas, headmaster of private day school Thomas's in Battersea, where Prince George will start in September, says he is opposed to the 11-plus system, which is used to select pupils for grammars and other schools.
In an interview with West London magazine the Resident, the highly-respected headmaster expressed his concern over the pressures of the 11-plus, which he said placed too much focus on box-ticking.
Mr Thomas said he preferred the 13 plus system, used by many private schools including Eton and Marlborough.
Also known as "common entrance", exams at 13 plus are more wide-ranging and can include subjects such as classical Greek, History, Latin and religious studies.
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