16 Apr 2010


I5schoolgirlLast year the independent primary school review recommended starting formal learning later at age six and scrapping SATS at age 11. Labour dismissed the report, the Tories barely commented but support SATS and Lib Dems also support SATS. This is shameful that none of these parties seem to be looking at the evidence around how children learn.

Our education system is failing too many of our young people. Each year, a shocking 8% of 11-year-olds leave primary school without the literacy and numeracy skills of an average seven-year-old.

It is no wonder that both the NUT and NAHT are balloting all its members who are Heads and Deputy Heads regarding whether or not to boycott the May KS2 SATS. Indeed they seem to have had to do this every year - I remember back in 2003 this issue and in the County Council elections last year Greens called again for an end to SATS.

I have also heard from a Green party colleague in Brighton that secondary schools don’t take SATS seriously (apparently there is a 25% margin of error) and often re-test students when they start at secondary schools anyway so this might help to allay any fears about how
the boycott might affect the transition to secondary school.

School tests put unnecessary pressure on children, and are an unwelcome distraction in their education. This type of test can worry children - and parents - making it more difficult for them to concentrate on and enjoy their education. It also means many teachers and schools are pressured into grooming children to perform in these tests from an early age, rather than responding to the needs of the whole child. Of course we need to ensure certain standards are being reached, but testing and school league tables have gone far beyond this - detracting from the overall quality, flexibility and enjoyment of learning.

Good luck to teachers in trying to make the other politicians listen and look at the research on this.

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