Following news that Labour claims they will abolish Sat testing for primary school kids should they come into power, a group of parents have universally decided to boycott the Sat testing of their children at Bearlings Primary School, Suffolk in favour of letting them play outside.
One of the parents Heather Chandler reportedly said kids should be out and about investigating the world around them and that “it was far too early” for children aged 6 and 7 to undertake SAT tests. She went on to say that the Sat’s were “unnecessary” and “a waste of time”.
Whilst the school declined to comment the chair of governors Rick Gillingham said they wouldn’t stop the parents boycott stating “over-testing is certainly something we wouldn’t go along with”.
“It adds extra pressure they don’t really need and takes a lot of teachers’ time away from what they should be doing.” Said Heather Chandler.
A month ago the Guardian reported that Primary School teachers will be balloted on boycotting the Sat’s due to concerns that they harm children’s mental health due to the unnecessary anxiety the testing produces. If the ballot is successful the NEU members will refuse to administer the tests next spring however this could in theory be navigated by head teachers should they bring in substitute teachers to oversee tests.
The joint general secretary of the NEU said “The days of universal standardised testing, designed more to make judgments about school performance than about pupil learning, are numbered.”
The Sat’s are a matter of great controversy. Many argue the undue strain on children’s mental health is unnecessary and that they should be scrapped for primary kids however there is the counter argument that without accountability at this age the quality of teaching in basic skills such as English and Maths will slip in the absence of a regulated measure that headmasters have to meet with exam results.
Equally some say that the testing results are only used by governments as a yardstick to measure their own success and aren’t benefiting students or schools directly.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said abolishing Sat’s would be “a retrograde step”.
He said it would “keep parents in the dark” by preventing them from knowing how good their child’s school was at teaching maths, reading and writing.
Jeremy Corbyn’s news grabbing headlines are really just PR given that the current government has already stated that they are moving towards scrapping Sat testing in favour of a new baseline testing at reception age.
The top comment of the BBC article reads
“As a Primary School Head teacher with more than 35 years’ experience I am ashamed of how parents and teachers have sacrificed a broad and balanced education for children for the need of politicians to provide statistics as to how well they are personally doing in government. The obscene nature of preparing 6 and 7 year olds to pass meaningless tests has become a national disgrace.”
Understand Our Language: Sat’s are Standardised Attainment Tests