Christine Blower: ‘Excessive’ focus on results is turning schools into ‘exam factories’

The TES is reporting thatthe NUT’soutgoing leader has condemned the government for “turning our schools at all levels into exam factories.”

Christine Blower, used her final speech as general secretary to tell the union’s conference in Brighton that the “excessive focus on exam results” is “bad for pupils, bad for teachers and it is clearly the antithesis of what NUT members believe to be a good education”.

She also described the new baseline tests – for four and five-year-olds –  as a “fiasco”…

Ms Blower said: “I want to wholeheartedly congratulate the schools which chose not to put children and teachers through it and let’s encourage very many more, perhaps all, not to engage in the voluntary but unacceptable activity next academic year.

“The notion of a school readiness check is beginning to take hold in some places. This is a notion that can be a somewhat reductionist checklist covering such attributes as “Can hold a pencil”, “Can sit still on a chair” and “understands the word No”.

“These may all be worthwhile things to know about a rising 5 year old but they cannot be, as baseline couldn’t be this year, an accountability measure for schools once those children reach the age of 11…” 

More at: ‘Excessive’ focus on results is turning schools into ‘exam factories’, union leader says


Read or download Christine Blower’s speech in full:

[pdf-embedder url=””]


Reactions to Christine Blower’s attack on the government’s education policy and the increase in testing in primary schools?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Teachers sent packing because they earn too little
Rural schools could double staffing levels under new funding formula
Categories: Policy and Primary.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This has been the case for years so why repeat it? Obsession with Pisa and international league tables is politicians’ alone

  2. andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Not when ‘plummeting’ down PISA tables was Gove’s reason for his reforms.  I was speaking to a mother recently who said it was terrible the UK was falling behind international tests.  I explained it wasn’t and she’d been sold a lie.   But that lie has become pernicious.
    It’s still the case the education legislation rests on ‘winning the global race’, ‘not letting England fall behind in tests’, etc.
    But if the Government are as concerned about PISA tests as it says, then it should have been expected that an English schools minister should be present when the OECD top guru gives his opinion about what teaching methods are more likely to push pupils up PISA’s greasy pole.  It speaks volumes that Nick Gibb was absent.

  3. Dai_James1942

    SchoolsImprove No need for it. Children’s educational outcomes can be predicted from socio economic data & Norm Referencing Bot in the DfE.

  4. neilayates

    SchoolsImprove Are they really Christine or are you pandering to the wilder excesses of your more militant members?

Let us know what you think...