Systems Thinking and Resource Intensity in Education

 Readers are referred to ‘Systems Thinking in the Public Sector – the failure of the Reform Regime’

Having said that, those involved with Dr Boston in the education world have greeted his resignation with regret. As John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders – which represents secondary school heads – said, Dr Boston constantly warned of “the shortcomings of the bloated tested and examinations system” in England.

A fact ignored in the furore over this year’s problems is that the national curriculum test results have not been delivered on time for years. There is, therefore, a sense that the Government has got off lightly in this affair, with officials at the QCA struggling – and ultimately failing – to administer an unmanageable system.

Dr Dunford has described English youngsters as “the most tested in the Western world”, with national curriculum tests for seven, 11- and 14-year-olds followed by three years of consecutive exams with GCSEs, AS-levels and A-levels.

The Government is moving in the right direction by abolishing the tests for 14-year-olds and and shifting the emphasis for seven-year-olds to internal teacher assessment. But ministers should heed Dr Dunford, who said yesterday that Lord Sutherland’s report would “describe a system at breaking point”. They need to order a root-and-branch review, which should, in fact, have been set up when the inquiry was first announced.


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