Schools Told to Reduce Pressure for SAT Exams


The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has criticised parents and teachers setting revision and mock papers for pupils ahead of sitting their SATs exams. He has said that schools and parents must not heap pressure on children, stating key stage 2 tests are not public exams that they will be judged on in later life.

The Cabinet member said he had been told stories of schools allowing their pupils to wear slippers and their own clothes during the tests in order to ease stress levels.

‘These tests are tests for the schools rather than individual children,’ he said. ‘You don’t carry your SATs results with you into a job interview. No one will ask how you got on in your SATs when applying for university.’

Pressure to do well in the assessments was also hitting children’s mental well-being, he added. Mr Hinds raised concerns after hearing some children were being forced to spend their Christmas holidays studying past tests, with around a third of schools asking pupils to revise for the paper.

His comments will go down badly among headteachers and their staff who claim they are under pressure to perform well in Key Stage 2 tests for fear of being converted into an academy and potentially losing their jobs.

MP Ministers overhauled the curriculum and assessment in primary schools during the last government, introducing more challenging content and tougher test papers. The move has placed even greater pressure on schools, raising the bar while introducing a tougher accountability regime. It has meant heads risk losing their jobs if they have a few years of poor results.

March 2019

School Leadership Today