Tuesday 14 October 2008

Burying good news, not bad?

Meanwhile in education ... the timing of the decision to scrap nationwide SATs tests at age 14 is explained by the window of opportunity created by the cancellation of the five year contract with ETS, following its shambolic failures in marking and delivering this year's tests.

The move has won cross-party support. There are good reasons to be wary of the blanket argument against testing - but the case against a nationwide test between age 11 and GCSEs is a convincing one.

Following the closure of the 42 days issue, there has been a small (and perhaps temporary) retreat on the provision to allow some coroner's inquests to be held without a jury, in exceptional circumstances. This proposal, which has drawn criticism from legal professionals and human rights groups, is being dropped from the counter-terrorism bill, but may reappear in future legislation.

Perhaps it is a shame these changes might be overshadowed by the dominant economic news. These are going to be widely seen as positive changes by significant progressive constituencies and, particularly in the case of the changes to testing, by the broader public too.

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