In May, all Year 2 children in England (apart from those in the independent school sector who stopped these tests years ago!) took SAT tests to assess their learning in Comprehension, Punctuation. Grammar and Mathematical Reasoning . These children are 6 or 7 years old. Parents and Teachers have expressed concern over the difficulty of these tests and the content being inappropriate for the developmental levels of the children.
Can you answer these questions?! (Examples taken from www.satspapers.org.uk)
What is 3/4 of 40?
65 + ? = 93
What type of word is underlined in the sentence below?
Poppy held the baby rabbit gently in her arms. Is it an adjective? an adverb? a noun? or a verb?
Now imagine you are 6. SIX! You should be playing rounders, singing songs, outside in the yard developing friendships and social skills, learning to read confidently and write well… not being prepped to pass these pointless tests.
Teachers and parents alike feel that there is really no need to be learning this level of punctuation or mathematical reasoning at 6 or 7 years old. Primary school should be for embracing the joy of learning and developing social skills through play. These exams stress children out… the curriculum required to prepare children stifles and bores them.
The Year 2 SATs must be stopped so we can let our kids be kids.
The SATs of 2016 were considerably harder that in previous years. A new set of guidance and a new curriculum were introduced to demonstrate the ‘high standards’ the DfE now expect of our children. Some tests were invalidated after being published online, other Year 6 papers were leaked by a “rogue marker”. Such was the chaos and confusion surrounding the tests that The National Association of HeadTeachers have called for non publication of the results…
“Given concerns about both the design and administration of the new assessments, the lack of preparation for schools, the inadequate time to implement the new curriculum for the current cohort, and the variations in approaches between schools resulting from delayed and obscure guidance, it is hard to have confidence in the data produced by this round of assessments.”
The National Unions of Teachers (NUT) also expressed concern stating that..
“Enough is enough. This is not just about leaked questions or answers. It is about the total chaos and confusion that primary assessment has become…. These problems would not have arisen if Government ministers had listened to the profession and parents. Of course teachers need to assess and test pupils, but assessment should be age appropriate and should not dominate the school timetable.”
What worries parents most about the SAT tests and the narrowed curriculum that lead up to them is that they do not have the child’s best interests at heart.
Anecdotal evidence on our facebook page has shown many cases of children’s health and well-being suffering as a result of the tests. We’ve read many upsetting stories about children displaying signs of self harm, in tears at school, after school, at bedtimes; children unsure of what to do to make things better; thinking they have failed their teachers or their parents; children frustrated at the high pressure cramming; those held in at play times to finish or redo practice papers; the evidence is endless and heartbreaking.
High stakes testing is affecting our children’s peace of mind and curtailing their childhood, forcing them to take onboard worries about their future for which they are not yet ready. The testing regime and the current cramming of knowledge into children too young is having a direct effect on the quality of their lives, and that of their families.
We know that there is a 200% rise in the number of younger children seen by the NHS for mental health concerns. The NUT also state that “Teachers are in despair about the health and well-being of their children and the damage to education brought about by these flawed tests.”
“The best interests of the child MUST be a TOP priority in all things that affect children” (UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, Article 3)
As far as Let our Kids be Kids, can see, the best interests of our children are NOT a top priority for this Government in relation to SAT testing. Far from it! What is happening in education at the moment seems to directly challenge the basic rights of a child.
On April 23rd, Michael Rosen clearly articulated the beliefs of many educationalists and parents;
“In forcing through their White Paper on turning every school into an academy; You create this test crazy regime that is only there, not for the basis of giving children useful knowledge, but in order to test teachers and schools. That’s what it’s there for. So our children take the pain, take the stress so that government monitors school in the way that they want; with these arbitrary yes no answers even where they’re not valid […the government] are measuring teachers and measuring schools with invalid testing, which impacts directly on our children.” (Michael Rosen – speaking at Parents Defending Education 23rd April 2016)