SATs Enough: Burnley head backing call for controversial tests to be abandoned

TESTING TIMES: Headteacher Louise Young with pupils at Worsthorne
TESTING TIMES: Headteacher Louise Young with pupils at Worsthorne

The headteacher of a village primary school has joined colleagues across the country in criticising the Government’s new SATs assessments, describing them as “scandalous”.

Mrs Louise Young, from Worsthorne Primary School, said there was great concern among headteachers over the tests which children took in May.

The Government’s new system of assessment, raising the expectations for 11 year olds significantly, is more suited to older children according to many primary school teachers.

Mrs Young said that every headteacher she had spoken to was completely committed to raising standards, but in a letter to parents said headteachers disagreed with the new system.

Mrs Young said: “We are all passionate about raising standards, that is why we’re in this job.

“We came into the job to make a difference and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our schools.

“However, as a profession, we are being forced to act against those core principles by allowing 47% of our country’s 11 year olds to move on to high school thinking that they aren’t good enough.

“The impact on those children and their families is profound and it is scandalous.”

Mrs Young said the Government had rushed through the new system, which had made teachers’ lives even more difficult.

“The implementation of the new system has been rushed and plagued with mistakes – SATs papers being published online before the tests and changes being made to the assessment criteria.”

Headteachers across Lancashire agreed with Mrs Young’s assessment.

The county’s National Association of Head Teachers recently complained to former Education Minister Nicky Morgan following what was described by teachers as a “debacle” with as many as 15 amendments and changes to the tests.

Mrs Young added: “The tests the children took in May were extremely challenging, particularly the reading.

“I have been teaching for 24 years and I have never seen anything like it – and I have very high expectations of our children.

“Many professionals felt that the reading test was more suited to 14 year olds.”

“When the results were published, there was a national intake of breath among educationalists.

“Only 53% of children across the country met the expectation set by the DfE, despite the government having set a floor standard of 65%. This clearly demonstrates that the Government did not know what to expect.”

Simon Jones, from the NUT union, said: “In the judgment of teachers, assessment arrangements in 2016 have been shambolic, a fiasco, a disgrace, farcical.”