Most parents 'want next year's Sats tests cancelled'

And more than two in five Year 5 pupils are worried about taking the tests next year, a survey suggests

Amy Gibbons

Coronavirus: Pupils are worried about next year's Sats after the closure of their schools, a survey shows

The majority of parents want next year's Sats to be cancelled, new research shows.

And more than two in five Year 5 pupils (41 per cent) are already worried about taking the tests next year, according to a survey by YouGov.

The research, carried out on behalf of campaign group More Than A Score, also shows that just 12 per cent of parents are concerned that their children have missed Sats or other formal tests cancelled due to Covid-19 this school year.


Related: Heads call for 'urgent' review of 2021 Sats

Coronavirus: Reception baseline assessment postponed in DfE U-turn

Viewpoint: 'Ending Sats is a lost cause, but data should be secret'


The news comes the week after heads called for an urgent review of next year's Sats due to the coronavirus crisis.

Asked if Sats should be cancelled in 2021, the majority of parents (54 per cent) said yes, while 27 per cent disagreed and 19 per cent said they didn't know.

Coronavirus: Pupils worried about next year's Sats

Meanwhile, in the survey, more than three-quarters of parents (77 per cent) said they believed that the prospect of taking Sats and other formal tests would add to the stress of children returning to school.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • More than one in five primary school children aged 6 to 11 (21 per cent) are worried that they won't be able to catch up on lessons they have missed.
  • Almost a quarter of 10-year-olds (24 per cent), who will be taking Sats next year, said they were concerned they will have to work even harder in preparation for the tests.
  • Just 6 per cent of primary school children said they missed getting ready for tests. Overwhelmingly, children have missed their friends the most (85 per cent), followed by their teachers (57 per cent), and the playground (50 per cent).
  • Primary school children who did not attend school during the pandemic, but did before, have mixed feelings about going back. Nearly a third (30 per cent) are excited and 24 per cent are happy, but 22 per cent confess to being nervous and 11 per cent are worried about the prospect. 
  • Children missing government tests was the least of parents' concerns surrounding closures. They have been most worried about children not seeing their friends (85 per cent), the quality of teaching provided at home versus school (64 per cent) and losing the structure of the school day (61 per cent).
  • Only 8 per cent of parents whose children didn't attend school during the pandemic, but did before, consider preparing for formal tests to be important.

Chris Dyson, headteacher at Parklands Primary School in Leeds, said: "The government must cancel Sats in 2021 and find a new way to measure schools which does not rely on young children sitting high-pressure tests.

"Heads are in agreement with parents. This year, more than ever, we should not be spending our time preparing children for government tests. We must prioritise their mental health and wellbeing and inspire them to love learning again.

"High-quality teaching delivers high standards in education. Intensive cramming for formal tests does not guarantee standards and won't close any gaps in learning."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We recognise the importance of children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak.

"We have placed significance on mental health in our planning framework for schools returning pupils and launched a new training module to support schools to teach about wellbeing issues as part of the health curriculum as children go back.

"We have also published guidance to schools and families about how to help support their children's mental wellbeing and education at home.

"Guidance for schools and families on the full return of all pupils from September will be published later this week."

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

Latest stories

Teacher mental health: There has been a big increase in staff signed off with stress, new figures show

‘Teachers cannot be mental health professionals’

Supporting young people with mental health challenges will need a big investment, says children and families minister, but she argues the government's latest funding will provide the money needed
Vicky Ford MP 10 May 2021