Just been reading about the protesters in Madrid – seems to be great waves of grass-roots protests around the world. I am so amazed by the brave people of the middle east – these are amazing times!

EVERYWHERE people are standing up and it is so good to see the difference that can be made by individuals joining together to be counted.

Children will be learning about these times and history will have names for these grassroots movements – we are truly living through inspirational times.

I wish the same could be said for education – especially in Australia. The NAPLAN tests are just finished and we have worked with scores of children this week to help them deal with their fear and concerns about these tests.

I don’t have a problem with sampling standards and ensuring students are working at appropriate levels. Problem is – all the hype and pressure that has been brought to bear on teachers and children. These kids have been working flat out on sample tests from February to now and both kids and teachers are utterly sick of it! NAPLAN has become the default National Curriculum for yrs 3/5/7/9 and will remain so when-

a. Teachers are judged and rewarded (or not – especially if they have children with problems in their class)

b. Many private schools ask for children’s NAPLAN tests before enrolling children.

Parents/teachers and children are all stressed out and many children are incredibly worried about the results.

Surely it would have been possible to have standardised school-based assessments rather than this expensive, self-esteem eating monstrosity.

Teachers ARE teaching to the test and this year the children we teach have been put off persuasive texts for life!!!! What a neat way to totally kill a love of writing!

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