Sats Give Children “Blighted” Education

SATS need to be “vigorously re-assessed” if 11 year-olds are to have a well-balanced education, according to a four-year study by the Cambridge Primary Review.

The review, requested by 900 academics and teachers from around the world, will reveal a damning reflection on how children in England are being taught a “narrow” education.

English and maths, along with art, music, drama, history and geography have all come under scrutiny in the review.

Despite showing flaws in the current Primary Curriculum, Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, is worried the Government will ignore the report.

“The fact that the Government now seems prepared to completely ignore the Cambridge Primary Review is quite extraordinary. This is clearly a work of great scope and importance.”

No surprise

The results will shed no surprise, as the Sats system has experienced continual disapproval throughout 2009.

Back in March, the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Head Teachers threatened to take industrial action against the tests in a radical bid to overthrow the system altogether.

They claimed Sats encouraged schools to “teach to the test” and sacrifice offering children a well-balanced education, in order to boost their league position.

Brookes went as far as saying the system “blighted” children’s educational experience and forced colleagues to be “humiliated and demeaned” on a regular basis.

Ministers earlier this year scraped Sats tests for 14 year-olds, as well as axing the science Sats test for 11 year-olds, after the debacle of last year’s exam marking.

Yet, there’s a growing conviction that children are going into higher education unprepared, and that the curriculum is still derailing the education of 11 year-olds, as they still have to take the English and maths tests.

The pass mark for both English and maths has dropped dramatically since Labour has been in charge.

Pupils now need to get 43% in English and 45% in maths to pass, a drop from a decade a go when they needed 48% and 52% respectively.


The review team believes that in order for the curriculum to improve, its testing system will need transforming.

They recently said, “The problem of the curriculum is inseparable from the problem of assessment and testing. Unless the national assessment system is reformed, especially at [11], changes to the curriculum will have limited impact and the curriculum outside the favoured zone of tested subjects will continue to be compromised.”

A report by the Primary Review regarding teaching methods and the curriculum will be unveiled on Friday.


1 Comment

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One response to “Sats Give Children “Blighted” Education

  1. boggartblog

    We take a more lightweight view at Boggart Blog but have covered how teaching to test and politically correct imperatives combined with the pressure of targets and league tables has led to a syllabus directed towards passing exams rather than education for life based on a grounding in language, maths, sciences and humanities that will enable pupils to specialise later.

    SATS and dumbing down

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