Anti-Sats campaigners want to ‘educate’ MPs

Campaigners take message to Westminster – on the side of a van

Helen Ward

caroline lucas

Anti-Sats campaigners have been to Westminster today to enlist the support of MPs.

The parent and teacher group More than a Score highlighted its campaign to abolish Sats with the help of a mobile advertising billboard, which was driven around outside the Houses of Parliament today.

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A More than a Score spokesperson said: “We want to educate MPs about the reality of SATs and we're asking them to lend their support to the growing movement calling for an overhaul of the current system.”

The MPs Tracy Brabin, shadow early years minister and MP for Batley and Spen; Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington; and Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, were pictured posing with the campaign bus.

The advert today contrasted quotes from prime minister Theresa May, schools minister Nick Gibb and chief inspector Amanda Spielman with comments collected from social media about the impact of Sats tests on children.

One of the adverts on the van is a poster split into two sides: one side states: “Nick Gibb, school minister, says: ‘I don’t think it’s right to say that reforms to the curriculum are the cause of young people’s anxiety.'” Meanwhile, the other side of the poster reads: “Teachers and parents say: ‘I’ve never had anyone cry before and have had 3 this week already.'”

But supporters of the tests say there is no need for Sats to cause anxiety in pupils if schools administer them appropriately. 

The campaign comes after about 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds took the key stage 2 Sats tests in reading, maths and spelling, punctuation and grammar last week, and a further 600,000 six and seven-year-olds will take the KS1 tests in maths and reading during May.

Theresa May was asked about Sats causing children stress during Prime Minister’s Questions last week.

Ms May replied: “What is important, as children go through their education, is that we make sure they are receiving the right education for them and we make sure that schools are providing the right quality of education.

“Simple tests that enable judgements to be made about where children are in relation to their learning through their school career are, I believe, right. It is right that they were introduced and it is right that they continue.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Key stage 1 assessments help teachers to evaluate where pupils are at the end of year 2. They form the starting point for the current primary progress measure. Key stage 2 tests help to ensure children leave primary school with a secure grasp of the fundamentals of reading, writing and maths, which lay the foundation for success at secondary school and beyond.

“These assessments should not be stressful for pupils. All over the world, schools guide children through assessments without them feeling pressured. This is how it should be.

“Tests over the course of a child’s education help us to understand how well schools are supporting children, and we trust teachers to administer them in an appropriate way.”

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