In a moving interview on the UK BBC radio, a primary headteacher broke down as he said that he was going to have to stop teaching for a while because he was being worn down by the relentless regime of inspection and testing.

Nigel Utton, headteacher of Bromstone Primary School in Kent, said that his school had a policy of accepting all pupils, whatever their abilities and needs but that relentless pressure from OFSTED (the punitive English inspection regime) meant that schools up and down the country, especially semi-privatised academies, are turning children with special needs away, for fear they will damage their outcome data. As a result his school was overflowing - as it accepted children other schools would not take. Because of this inclusive policy, his job is on the line and under question continually. In the interview, he says: 'I know that what we are doing here is magical, but the pressure from OFSTED, the ridiculous numbers game we have to play is making it impossible . . . it is wearing me down, it has worn me out . . . All of the (policy) changes are making it worse.' Later in the interview, he breaks down as he talks about one of the special needs pupils, Joshua, who has told the interviewer how great the school is. Nigel Utton says, 'I'm measured not on how brilliant Josh's life is but on how well he performs in a test - which is disgusting.' 

This problem is not confined to the UK. It is happening wherever schools are judged on a set of numerical data. It is widespread in the US where the charter school movement is increasing racial and class divides as well-documented cases show how many of them exclude children, who do not fit in to the profile of a 'successful' school. Campaigns against this are mounting, in the US, but also in many other parts of the world, particularly in Latin America. The UK National Union of Teachers has just voted at its conference to investigate a campaign of 'principled non-compliance' with test and data based early years changes.

The headteacher says that he has just being doing an assembly on Rosa Parks and how she was not content for black and white children to be separate. He says he feels, like her, that 'Enough is enough, someone's got to turn round and say I'm not willing to do this anymore in this way.' While the actions of heroic teachers like this one are important in the struggle, people like him make it even more vital that unions step up to the mark and lead the fight back against these changes which as Nigel Utton says, like the Dementers in Harry Potter, are 'sucking the life out of education.'