***ACTION*** If your child is in Year 2 and you are concerned about SATs please speak with your headteacher – the tests are NOT compulsory but in order to ensure your child does not take them you may need to withdraw them from school and incur an unauthorised absence. It is important that your school knows your views so please do not be afraid to speak about your concerns.
***ACTION*** If you child is suffering from anxiety or physical illness as a result of the tests then there is clear guidance from the STA that your child should not be made to take the test – please read this research for more information.
Despite the plans to SCRAP YEAR 2 SATS from 2023, in May, all Year 2 children in England (apart from those in the independent school sector who stopped the tests years ago!) will take 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 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. What worries parents most about the SAT tests is that the curriculum is simply not developmentally appropriate – we are pushing our children to learn content which used to be taught in Key Stage 2!
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 (now the NEU) 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.
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)
The fact that these tests are BEING SCRAPPED in 2023 shows that they are NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE and DAMAGE THE KEY STAGE ONE CURRICULUM. If your child was prescribed a medicine which was being withdrawn from use because it was damaging to your child’s health would you let them take it?! Obviously all children are different and all schools are different too – but if YOUR child is suffering as a result of these tests please don’t be afraid to speak to your school about your concerns!