SATs – do you pass the test?

Without getting too deep on you, let’s face it, whatever your spiritual leaning, we are all here to make the world a better place and be the best people we can possibly be.  Life throws up all manner of tests for us to face – some harder than others, some which deeply challenge us, others that help us to grow.  The biggest test of all is to do the right thing when it’s also the hardest thing.

Sure, it’s easier to pay 5p for yet another plastic bag but the right thing to do is bring your bag for life right?   It’s easier to just chuck everything in the wheelie bin but the right thing to do is wash, squash and recycle right?   It’s easier to think everyone else will solve the world problems than take action ourselves.  It’s easier to follow orders that to challenge authority.

Right now the education accountability system is a mess. Kids are suffering as a result and teachers are despairing at how they can protect children from a flawed standardised testing system.  Are you doing the easy thing or the hard thing to solve that problem?

If you are a primary headteacher we understand you have difficult ethical choices to make.  The hard thing right now is to say no to Baseline pilots taking place in your school – testing 4 year olds is nonsense and everyone knows it… the data will be unreliable and feed a system which is deeply flawed.  Every year you face the moral issues regarding SATs in both Year 2 and in Year 6 – the easy thing is to continue to feed the data machine, the hard thing is to work with other heads to try and fight the broken system that does so much harm.

If you are a parent watching your child prepare for SATs the hard thing right now is to ask difficult questions and challenge your school, your LEA, your MP – the right thing is to be part of the change you want to see by asking those difficult questions and challenging the system you know is failing your child.  The easy thing is to hope someone else will fight on your child’s behalf – as parents we are advocates for our children, we can not take the easy route.

If you are a secondary headteacher and can see how Progress 8 is damaged by over-inflated primary SAT scores, setting your children and your teachers up for failure, the hard thing right now is to work with primary colleagues towards a better solution. The right thing is to fight against SATs to protect yet more children entering a damaged system.

The easy thing is to think this is someone else’s problem, to maintain the status quo and allow this mess to continue.  The hard thing is the right thing, the thing that helps us sleep at night knowing we are part of the solution and not the problem.  If we all try to do the right thing, we can sort this mess out together. Ask yourself… are you passing the test?


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