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SCHOOL STANDARDS UNIT TO CLOSE

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The government unit credited with introducing the literacy and numeracy strategies in primary schools is to be disb...
The government unit credited with introducing the literacy and numeracy strategies in primary schools is to be disbanded. The Standards and Effectiveness Unit was set up by the prime minister's education advisor, Michael Barber, at the Department for Education and Skills within days of Labour gaining power in 1997.

A DfES spokeswoman said in a statement today:

'The changes within our schools directorate will in fact reinforce and increase our focus on standards by creating a new team whose key objective is continuing to improve education in our primary and secondary schools.

'Raising school standards remains a key priority for the government and this reorganisation will ensure that this continues.'

Association of Teachers and Lecturers general secretary Mary Bousted commented:

'The government's narrowly defined, intellectually impoverished, definition of standards has run its course. Test results have run into the sand - as they were bound to do sooner rather than later. Ministers know only too well that if standards are to improve, more of the same won't do.

'The tensions between the government's inclusion agenda and the standards agenda have been brought to the fore by the new and important focus on children and young people. Currently, the government's standards agenda is an exclusive agenda. Children and young people are faced with an obstacle race of endless tests rather than exciting opportunities to learn.

'The Standards and Effectiveness Unit was set up without any real thought about what was meant by 'standards' and 'effectiveness'. Its demise was thus inevitable.'

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