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In this blog we are posting news from around the network, reflections on general news items and other broad-ranging items of interest. Current contributors are Sightlines Initiative directors Robin Duckett, Liz Elders, Debi Keyte Hartland and Chris Merrick.
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Primary Assessment: The Alternative

MORE THAN A SCORE: Wed 29 March 2017 6 - 8p.m Maurice Barnett Room, Central Hall Westminster

Join us as we launch the alternative to the current system of primary assessment and accountability. More Than a Score, of which Sightlines Initiative is a member,  is uniting teachers, parents, professionals and experts who want children to be at the heart of education policy. Assessment should value children as individuals, not numbers.

Schools, parents and teachers are waiting for the Department of Education to launch its consultation on the future of primary assessment. The system is broken and urgently needs real and meaningful reform.

More Than a Score is committed to promoting a range of forms of assessment to influence teaching effectively -and reveal the full range of a child's abilities - rather than to judge schools.

We are campaigning with teachers, parents and others to end the present system of assessment and introduce an alternative model which enjoys professional and public confidence.

This event is open to teachers, parents, school governors and those with an interest in primary education.

It is free to attend, and you can register HERE.

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"Children learn best when teaching aligns with their natural exuberance, energy and curiosity."

George Monbiot, author and environmentalist

"When they are allowed to apply their natural creativity and curiosity, children love learning. They learn to walk, to talk, to eat and to play spontaneously, by watching and experimenting. Then they get to school, and we suppress this instinct by sitting them down, force-feeding them with inert facts and testing the life out of them.

There is no single system for teaching children well, but the best ones have this in common: they open up rich worlds that children can explore in their own ways, developing their interests with help rather than indoctrination."

In the midst of organising a presentation day  in which we will be demonstrating just such principles, we've been alerted to this article of today by Mr. Monbiot. 

Do read it, it is a very cogent and pertinent article. He also references Reggio Emilia, as a place to look to as an example.

And - join us on our Networks Showcase Day in London, on 4 March, in which early childhood educators from London and around the Midlands will be presenting their current endeavours to create places really fit for children's learning and curiosity.

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The Leaning Tower of PISA?

Or 'A War of the Worlds' Or 'Compare and Contrast'?

I'm following up Tuesday's Diary item with an illustrative selection from this week's UK news and related papers about current  UK Education policy 'leanings' and plans (with links to sources):

"British (actually English) school children could be guinea pigs for controversial new tests being described as a "pre-school PISA" for five-year-olds, despite other nations rejecting the trials. The move is disclosed in a contract document published quietly earlier this month by the Department for Education. "  The Daily Telegraph 31 January 2017

WHAT IS 'the pre-school PISA', you ask? Here is a briefing paper (extract)  from Prof. Peter Moss:

"Since its first outing in 2000, the Programme for International Student Assessment, widely known as PISA, has become highly influential in the education policy world with its three-yearly assessment of 15-year-olds in a growing number of countries around the world. Now the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) is moving on to new ground, with plans well advanced for an international assessment of early learning outcomes among young children. …

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