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Sats are far more than ‘just another test’

Policymakers insist that the Year 6 Sats are a measure of school performance and that individual students should not feel under pressure to ‘do well’. But some worry that the formal nature of the tests – and the fear of ‘failure’ – is putting children’s mental wellbeing at risk. Here, Helen Ward looks at how much teachers can do to reduce pupils’ anxiety and prepare them for the week ahead

How to support Sats students

Sats week is upon us again. Each year, wedged between the London marathon and the FA cup final, comes the most pressurised spell of the primary year – when England’s 10- and 11-year-olds are challenged to get over the line in tests that will see their schools ranked against each other.

Schools put up “quiet please” notices on the Year 6 classroom doors, teaching assistants are redeployed to invigilate and EduTwitter is filled with survivor in-jokes about past Sats questions. But not everyone copes well with the impending challenge.

“Sats and the regime of extreme-pressure testing are giving ...

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