Unions up the pressure over Sats

Image caption,
A boycott of Sats in the summer meant Year 6 pupils in 4,005 schools did not sit them

Three teaching unions have joined forces to urge the government to scrap Sats tests for 11-year-olds in England.

The National Union of Teachers, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Association of Head Teachers say the tests are excessive.

The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has not committed to scrapping the tests but has ordered an independent review of England's primary tests.

The review follows a boycott of Sats by two unions earlier this year.

Some members of the NUT and the NAHT chose not to administer the tests in their schools.

The action meant Year 6 pupils in 4,005 schools did not take Sats in the summer term.

Teaching to the test

Now unions hope the review will bring about a fundamental change to the system.

They have long expressed their concerns that the tests do not give a true picture of pupils' attainment, encourage teaching to the test and put pupils under pressure.

They also argue that the way the tests are used to compile league tables is divisive.

By joining forces, the three unions hope to present a strong case to the testing review and up the pressure on Mr Gove to scrap Sats and abolish primary school league tables.

The tests have already been abolished in Wales and Northern Ireland and have never been taken in Scotland.

'Clinging on'

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, said: "Despite the overwhelming evidence about the damaging effects of the key stage 2 tests, the government appears to be clinging on to them limpet-like.

"The onus is now on the government to invent tests that overcome the known problems with Sats and can be valuable, accept that SATs need to be scrapped, or admit that ideology is more important than what's best for children's education."

Russell Hobby, general secretary of NAHT, said: "Teacher assessment provides a richer, more accurate source of information to parents than the current crude and narrow tests and the equally unhelpful league tables they feed.

"League tables say nothing about the quality of teaching and downplay the fantastic work of many schools in the most challenging circumstances."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: "Changing the present system will ensure that our children's education is far more enriching then it is at present.

"Moderated teacher assessment will give better quality information about children's progress to parents and carers.

"We also need to see the end of the demoralising and unnecessary scourge of league tables."

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