Sats should be scrapped, says best-selling author Lauren Child

'I really hate testing for little people,' says Waterstones Children’s Laureate who wrote 'Charlie and Lola'

Helen Ward

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The best-selling author of the Charlie and Lola books has said that she “really hates” testing for children and thinks the Sats tests should be scrapped.

Lauren Child, who was made Waterstones Children’s Laureate earlier this year, has already spoken out about the need for children to have the "freedom to dream".

In an interview with Tes, published tomorrow, she explains her concern that the focus on certain subjects can sideline other important lessons – music, drawing, and learning how to get on with people in a group.

She said: “Now it seems very tough on children. You’ve got to reach this level of arithmetic or spelling or writing or reading. There are so many things we are expecting them to achieve."

Asked if she would like to see the Sats abolished, she replied: “Yes I would. I don’t really see the point. I really hate testing for little people.”

She joins previous children's laureates in her opposition to the tests – earlier this year, War Horse author and former teacher Michael Morpurgo described the tests as a “dark spider” bringing fear to classrooms.

And last year, Chris Riddell, then children's laureate, jointly published an illustrated poem with author David Almond condemning the testing of young children.

Mr Riddell said at the time: “I am concerned about Sats. I think there is a sense in which creativity is seen as an addition to the curriculum, rather than something that is part of it, and a culture of testing at an early age causes a lot of unnecessary tension and problems for both teachers and pupils.”

Ms Child, who took up the post in June, said she planned to build links between the worlds of literature and other arts including television, film and design.

Her remarks come as Ofqual today published a report that found the 2016 key stage 2 reading test was “unduly hard” for some children.

The government has said it will look into scrapping Sats for 7-year-olds in 2023, subject to the successful development of a baseline assessment for 4-year-olds.

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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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