Scrapping SATs may help the children of tomorrow, but what about today’s GCSE students?

Letters
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Scrapping SATs may help the children of tomorrow, but what about today’s GCSE students?

It’s good to hear that Jeremy Corbyn intends to scrap SATs when he gets into power. What a shame that is too little and too late to save the current year 11s as they prepare to sit their GCSEs; they who have been described to me recently by three separate and unconnected teachers (in different parts of the southeast) as “the worst bunch I’ve ever taught, bar none” and “truly awful”.

We seem to have screwed over this cohort not once, not twice, but three times. Firstly, they were all conceived in the 12 months following 9/11, so who knows where any of our heads were?

Secondly, they were in year 4 when the coalition government began an extensive reform of the national curriculum in 2011 following the headteacher boycotts of 2010; teachers were more focused on getting their year 6s and 5s through the exams than on the children.

Finally, revised GCSE courses started to be taught in 2015 (when they were in year 8) ready for the first exams in 2017. Which teacher was going to worry about the year 8s when they were trying to get their heads around the new grades and curriculum so the current year 10s and 11s didn’t flunk out?

Good luck to them all this summer; but let’s not expect too much.

Tammy Boydell
London SE26

So many white people

I’ve just been watching footage of the Extinction Rebellion demo in London. In the words of Jon Snow, “I’ve never seen so many white people in one place.” Could it be that the organisation is institutionally racist? I feel we need an urgent public inquiry, as protesting about climate change should be a right for all people, whatever their ethnic background.

Andy Brown
Derby

The Extinction Rebellion is no nuisance

I couldn’t disagree more with Andrew Brown’s judgement of Extinction Rebellion as a “nuisance” (Letters, 16 April). Where the very future of humankind is at stake, the issue isn’t whether activists are “self-righteous” and “intolerant” (that may or may not be the case), but whether they’re right or not.

To let narrow anti-left ideology get in the way of rational analysis where planetary extinction is a real possibility is irresponsibility of the highest order.

Dr Richard House
Stroud

No, Labour cannot be compared to Notre Dame

To fully recognise the desperate determination of some to have Corbyn hung, drawn and quartered, we need only read the letter from Amanda Baker (16 April), to be reminded that Labour is seen as dangerous to the entrenched privileges of the few.

Baker’s twisted obsession sees the burning Notre Dame and the Labour Party and its leader as analogous.

Labour, if your correspondent has not noticed, is ahead in all five latest polls. Sorry, “Friends of Labour”, not even a hint of smoke.

Eddie Dougall
Bury St Edmunds

Boycott Madonna’s Eurovision performance

Madonna’s appearance at Eurovision is being funded by an Israel-based billionaire. Canadian born Sylvan Adams agreed to fund Madonna’s $1m performance of two songs at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.

He has previously funded other initiatives aimed at promoting Israel on a global stage, including bringing the Giro D’Italia cycling race to the country.

Thousands of artists now publicly support the call from Palestinian artists and cultural organisations for the cultural boycott of Israel.

Madonna’s announcement that she will cross Palestinians’ long-established picket line comes at a time when fewer and fewer major international artists are willing to perform to an effectively segregated audience under apartheid.

Let’s hope Madonna stands on the right side of history by refusing to let her music and image be exploited by a regime that desperately craves the whitewash Eurovision is offering. The boycott of Israel continues until the occupation army leaves Palestine, the refugees are allowed to return to their homes and the colonial settlers return to Israel and Palestine is free.

Brian McKenna
Palestine Solidarity Campaign

We’re still failing the Windrush generation

Gracie Bradley’s timely piece “The hostile environment is more entrenched than ever reminds us of our government’s failure on basic human rights. On leaving school in the 1970s, my first real job was in a psychogeriatric hospital as a porter.

Two of my hardest working, intelligent and most compassionate colleagues were Windrush generation immigrants from the West Indies with young families.

The thought that these kind men and their children could now, over 40 years on, be subject to the Orwellian machinations of the Home Office is truly nauseating.

John McNeill
Edinburgh