Save Tom

Tom hands you the envelope. It’s a bit smeared where his fingers are grubby from playing football at break.

It’s from school, mum,” he says, “my results.”

You tear open the envelope. Your fingers are shaking as you unfold the paper inside. You read what it says.

“In the end of key stage 2 mathematics test, Tom received a scaled score of 87.  He did not meet the secondary readiness standard (100).  This places him in the bottom 10% of pupils nationally.  The average scaled score for pupils with the same prior attainment was 92, so he has made less progress in mathematics than other pupils with a similar starting point.

‘Tom’ has multiple learning difficulties, or autism, or dyslexia, or down’s syndrome, or has had a tough start in life. Things are hard, but you do what you can.

A tear rolls down your face. You look up at Tom and smile.

Don’t worry, son, you’ll always be number one to me.”

Please read and respond to the government consultation.


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13 Responses to Save Tom

  1. thesparrowwhisperer says:

    Reblogged this on thesparrowwhisperer.


  2. littlemavis says:

    I was talking to a colleague at work yesterday. We are both of a certain age, brought up in different parts of the country, We can both remember being regularly tested at primary school and being allocated desks in the classroom according to our rank position in those tests. If you were high enough up in the class to be able to pass the 11+ you were taught the necessary skills to do so.
    I don’t know what happened to the rest. I was fortunate enough not to be one of those children. I would like to think in my school they got the sort of help and teaching needed to do the best they could. My friend says that in her’s those children were pretty much abandoned.
    In either case I’d hate to go back to that. If nothing else it was divisive, surely we know better now.


  3. Well, what a depressing but unsurprising idea! Linking directly with the post about a ‘dog eat dog’ education system, this goes one step further towards ‘putting us in our place’.
    Why delude ourselves that we can make something of our lives, when, at age 11, you can consign a young person to the scrap heap by telling them, their parents and their teachers that they are in the bottom 10%?
    So, so miserable!


  4. Suzanne Finn says:

    This makes me want to weep. I will never ever write off a child in my care. Children are not statistics to be entered on a graph; they are living, breathing balls of potential.


  5. A reminder: “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” Brad Henry

    We will hold on to this…


  6. I would sooner tear up any envelope on my boys than read such facile grading. It is retrograde and evil minded.


  7. essexnqt says:

    Reblogged this on Diary of an NQT and commented:
    This would be so demoralising for children!


  8. Stargazer says:

    I left school at 15, told I wouldn’t be entered for ‘O’ levels as I wasn’t considered bright enough to pass any. My maths teacher wrote in my school leaving report, ‘This boy will never be able to add two and two and make the same answer twice’. What to do? I did what unintelligent people were supposed to do – I joined the Army. After all, if everybody has told you that you are stupid for long enough, you end up believing it and look for somewhere that you’re not required to think. I always had an interest in the stars though. The army gave me all sorts of tests and of course some were intelligence tests. Soon I found myself back in a classroom; whilst others were learning to shoot I was learning to solve equations and understand sciences. Eight ‘O’ levels, four ‘A’ levels and then the Army sent me to uiniversity. I gained a Lower First in maths and physics and would happily have stayed but the Army thought I should come back and be a soldier in order to pay the bills. After I left the Army I had to get a job to pay rent (and then a mortgage), support a family etc. So it was only when I reached the age of sixty that I finally achieved a PhD in astrophysics and finally rid myself of the sense of worthlessness that my maths teacher left hanging round my neck.

    No child should ever be written off the way I was. Had I enjoyed a better school environment I might have gone to university straight from school, gained my PhD in my twenties and had the life I should love to have had, as an academic scientist. But then my name isn’t Michael Gove; swith his family’s money, no school would ever have dared write him off in that fashion, even if his subsequent public actions suggest he should have been.


  9. Isn’t this missing the important aspect of how hard a person tries and the improvement they make rather than where they end up in terms of understanding something ? ie Tom may have scored 87, which is below the standard required for whatever… but this does not tell us anything about where he was when he started (the year?)…maybe he was on 22 and WOW look at his improvement…..look at how much you can do now Tom….Well done Tom you are awesome for working so hard. #Governmentmissingthepointagain


  10. PapaAlpha says:

    Just another stick to beat us all with.


  11. Pingback: Assessment in the new National Curriculum – what we’re doing | Teaching: Leading Learning

  12. Pingback: Education Panorama (August ’14) by @TeacherToolkit | @TeacherToolkit

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