SATs preparation overtaking children’s lives

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Three-in-10 (30%) teachers and headteachers say their school expects children aged six to seven (Year 2) to do SATs revision at home, according to a joint survey by the National Education Union (NEU) and TES.

This increases to more than 8 in ten (82%) schools expecting pupils aged 10 to 11 (Year 6) to revise for their SATs at home.

In a survey of 500 teachers and headteachers in England, almost one-in ten (8%) run revision classes after school for Year 2 children, and more than half (56%) offer them to pupils in Year 6. A further 29% said that Year 6 pupils are offered SATs revision during lunchtimes, leaving children with even less time to have a break from tests.
 
Anecdotally, a high number of respondents expressed that SATs should be scrapped completely, with some saying they “take the fun out of teaching”, “are a total waste of time and undermine, once again, the professionalism of teachers” and “are a nightmare”.
 
Teachers and heads are also increasingly concerned about the effect of SATs on pupils, with 83% saying that SATs in Year 6 have a detrimental effect on pupils’ mental health, and 54% saying SATs in Year 2 mean pupils’ mental health suffers.
 
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: “SATs, whether at Year 2 or Year 6, are damaging to primary education. The Government relentlessly tests children from the age of six, and they are told they are failures if they do not meet required standards. This can impact on their self-esteem, which can carry on throughout their schooling and determine the direction of their adult lives.”
 
 “We believe there are better ways of assessing children, and better ways of ensuring school accountability. We will continue to campaign with parents and other educational organisations against the accountability and assessment pressures that lead to the labelling of children.”
School Leadership Today
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