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Pupils should get an education for life, not just exams

Dear Editor,

You report that “Teachers ‘feel trapped in jobs they don’t want to do’, with the Education Datalab thinktank suggesting that new teachers should be helped to deal with the pressures of “paperwork and accountability.” (“Teaching becoming a job that is ‘just too big an ask’ but many feel trapped in profession” at

This ambition is understandable.  The headteachers I speak to highlight increasing difficulties in recruitment. But in the Green Party, we’d go much further and remove the excessive and pointless workloads that all teachers are currently suffering.

With 60% of the job not relating to actually teaching pupils, we need to free teachers, and their pupils, from the pressures caused by turning our schools into exam factories. We need to provide an education that prepares pupils for life, rather than just exams.

I’ve been hearing from parents of seven-year-olds in Sheffield how their children were stressed and crying about SATs. The Green Party wants to abolish these tests.

As a former school governor, I know how difficult and damaging Ofsted inspections are, and how this institution has been driven by political agendas. We want to replace Ofsted so regional officers would have to work closely with local authorities.

The Green Party wants to ensure that schools are not only properly funded, but also that they reflect the needs and interests of pupils and their communities, that creative and practical subjects are properly valued and supported, and that pupils get an education for life, not just exams.

And that teachers can stay in the profession for a full, satisfying, successful professional life, not be driven out by diktats from Whitehall and meddling from ministers.

Natalie Bennett
Green Party candidate for Sheffield Central

Topics: Central, Children, Education, Letters to the press, Natalie Bennett, Youth