Sitting Out The Stats

Sitting Out The Stats

So if you’re a parent where do you stand on the seven-year-olds’ Standard Assessment Tests (Sats) which some are saying put young children under undue stress?

According to the government they reflect the more rigorous standards Cameron’s people have sought to introduce.

Campaigners, Let Our Kids Be Kids, want learning to be fun and organised a strike, claiming that thousands of children were kept off school in their Sats protest.

The Department for Education reckoned that of 100 schools contacted only 70 pupils were kept at home on strike day.

Let Our Kids Be Kids believed, however, that no matter how many stayed away from the classroom, the protest had earned press coverage, social media activity and support.

At a rally in Brighton, parents and children were joined by the Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, who said: “There should be more trust in teachers and their ability to assess children at this age rather than through testing.”

Writer Michael Rosen added his voice of dissent.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools, as might be expected, said tests were essential, adding that if children hadn’t mastered reading, writing and maths by the age of seven, the odds were “stacked against them for the rest of their lives”.

“Most schools do everything they can to minimise the stress that children experience in preparing for and sitting these tests,” he said.

The Schools minister, Nick Gibb believes the tests are vital in helping schools to ensure that young children are learning to read, write and add up well.

Ministers insist changes to tests are responding to the need to drive up pupil attainments before they arrive at secondary school and say figures show one in five of our 11 year olds, don’t have an adequate grasp of the basics.

Tests for seven year olds are not new and the government is unapologetic about trying to improve schools standards.

So are the Sats a necessary driver of improving children’s future prospects in life or a blight on children’s lives?

As a mum who helped prepare her kids for all manner of tests and exams, I didn’t like them, they didn’t like them, but all achieved decent university degrees and rewarding careers. 

Tests or fun?  We did the fun too, bouncy castles to sporting honours. 

And would I be one of the parents taking my kids out of school to protest against tests? No, I think I’d fail that particular test.

Patricia McLoughlin