Sats protest


Greetings. Parents are threatening to keep their kids out of school for the day in protest about primary tests in England. What the what? Parents are encouraging their kids not to go to school? Has the world gone mad? Yes. Yes, it has. I don’t even know what to think about this. Actually, I do.

More than 40K parents have signed a petition calling for a boycott of primary school tests, which are due to be taken later this month-according to the BBC. Parents supporting the Let Our Kids Be Kids Campaign have complained of a damaging culture of over-testing. Lordy. First of all-the name of the campaign is: rubbish. And it implies that you should let children run wild in the streets and be feral and let them consume vast quantities of sugar and sausage rolls…because that is exactly what is going to happen if you let your kids be kids. Yes. Yes, it is. And as the Mother of ZERO children, you better believe I know what I am talking about. Well, maybe. But, I do have strong opinions about this topic-that is for sure. But really now, Mums and Dads: kids go to school, which means that kids take tests. So far, so normal. You all need to calm down. For real.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has said that even taking  pupils out of school  ‘even for a day is harmful to their education.’ Finally, someone is talking sense. At this moment, it remains uncertain how many primary school children will be kept off school-but a social media campaign has been urging parents to take children on educational activities for the day (and remember to bring along their tablets, iPhones and iPads). Well, I live near a school and it was unusually quiet this morning. Normally it is so busy with mums, prams and kids with partially combed hair that I actually have to get out of the way to let them pass.

Anyway, campaign organisers have indicated that children are ‘over -tested, over-worked and in a school system that places more importance on tests results and league tables than children’s happiness and joy of learning.’ Oh boo hoo. Please wake up. I do realise, that I am not making any friends here. But seriously, school and tests are kind of what goes on in school. I suspect that when the kids go home and need help with their homework-the parents are simply unable to do it. Happens all the time. There is no shame in it. But these parents should feel ashamed by keeping their kids at home today.

These parents have raised concerns about the impact of primary tests-called ‘Sats’ which are taken by 7 and 11 year olds. They have challenged what they claim is a ‘dull, dry curriculum’ based around tests. In an open letter to the education secretary-campaigners have warned of schools becoming ‘exam factories’ and that testing causes stress and can subsequently make young children feel like ‘failures.’ Well now.  Of course parents want to protect their children and their general well-being-I get it. But..come. on. Fiona Robertson, a parent and a primary teacher who is planning to take her children out of school said that such tests can ‘turn children off’ school. Oh dear. Well Fiona, of course you are entitled to your opinion but when your kid becomes the local tearaway and ends up in jail, you might wish you had sent your child to school today. Am I being too harsh? Probably. Will Fiona’s child end up in jail? Probably not. But seriously, Fiona just needs to send her child to school and maybe think about some extra tutoring lessons for Winfred ( I made that up-I don’t know the name of Fiona’s kid). I mean, Fiona does have some valid points/opinions, she later added ‘they’re not producing really imaginative pieces. They’re too scared to.’ Maybe.

Education minister Nick Gibb said that tests improved standards. Yes. Yes, it does. He also added, “Schools should not be putting pressure on young people when taking these assessments. I’ve been to many schools where the children don’t even know they’re taking the tests, they don’t have an effect on the children themselves because they have no consequences for the children. They [the tests] are to hold schools to account, to make sure that every school in the country is equipping children with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.”

In addition, recently parent’s and teachers’ claims were dismissed by Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education as he said that any short-term stress was worth it if in the longer term it meant that children finished school with better results.McGovern said that tests in England’s schools needed to be tougher to catch up with international competitors as he added,“We’re three years behind the Chinese at the age of 15. We are a bit of a basket case internationally….we’ve got to do something, we’ve got to act early, and a health check at seven is a good idea.” Well now, I totally agree with McGovern, and I could tell you a thing or two about Chinese students. But that is a blog post for another day.

But yeah, send you kids to school today Mum and Dad. Like Education Secretary Morgan said, ‘keeping children home, even for a day is harmful to their education.’ A  Department for Education spokesman said: “Only exceptional circumstances warrant a child being taken out of school during term time.”

A brief history of the sats test

National curriculum assessments are a series of educational assessments known as ‘Sats’. It comprises of a mixture of teacher-led and test-based assessment depending on the age of the pupil. The test is unrelated to the US college admission test-SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test). The tests were introduced over a period of several years from 1991-1998 for the purpose of testing 7, 11 and 14 year olds on nationally regulated educational standards. However, the tests for the 14 year old was later abandoned.  The tests for 7 year olds were replaced by levels derived from teachers’ own assessments. ALL tests were phased out in Wales between 2002 and 2005. So, that is a brief history of Sats. Knowledge is power, people.








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