Sats: think they just impact Year 6? They affect the whole school...

As Sats week gets underway for Year 6, their peers can't be noisy and can't access learning support, says Michael Tidd

Michael Tidd

Sats tests disrupt the whole school - not just pupils in Year 6, writes headteacher Michael Tidd

Monday morning in primary schools across the country:

Headteacher: "…apart from that, please treat it like a normal week. Oh, and don’t forget that all bells are switched off, fruit will be served only on the far playground, and please try not to send any pupils with messages today."

Meanwhile, in classrooms...

The impact of Sats: Reception

Child: "Miss, is it our turn to play in the water pit today?"

Mrs Strong: "I’m afraid not, Annabel. Nobody’s going to play out in the wet area today, unfortunately."

Child: "Why not?"

Mrs Strong: "Well, because today the Year 6 children are doing their Sats tests, so we can’t make too much noise out in the shared area today."

Year 1

Child: "Mrs Smith, I’m getting my certificate in assembly today, aren’t I?"

Mrs Smith: "Oh, I’m afraid it won’t be this morning, Noah. We’re not having assembly until this afternoon today."

Child: "Oh… why?"

Mrs Smith: "Well, because today the Year 6 children are doing their Sats tests, so they’re getting straight on with things this morning. But don’t worry, we’ll see your certificate after lunch."

Year 2 

Child: "Mr Barnet, why are all the displays in Ms Caper’s classroom cover in paper?"

Mr Barnet: "Well, because it’s their Year 6 tests this week, so they have to cover up anything that might help them."

Child: "Oh. Aren’t they allowed to use things to help them, then?"

Mr Barnet: "Not in the tests, no."

Child: "Oh. I’m glad I’m not in Year 6, then."

Year 3

Child: "Hey, Mrs Cooper, guess what? I’ve finished The Demon Headmaster at the weekend it was amazing. Can I go to the library and see if the next one is there?"

Mrs Cooper: "Oh, how exciting. Yes, absolutely… oh, but not this morning. You’ll have to wait until the afternoon, I’m afraid."

Child: "Oh… can I not go quickly before we start English?"

Mrs Cooper: "Not today, I’m afraid. It’s Year 6 Sats week, so there’ll be children working in the library this morning. Don’t worry, you can go later."

Year 4

Child: "Erm… Miss Williams, do I go and have my extra help with Mrs Peters now?"

Miss Williams: "Oh, I’m sorry, Jake, Mrs Peters can’t do your extra reading today. She’s working with the Year 6s doing the Sats tests this morning so she can help them with their reading. Do you want to read to me instead?"

Child: "Oh. Will she be back tomorrow?"

Miss Williams: "She’ll be back on Friday!"

Year 5

Child: "Mr Marshall, why did the Year 6s come in so early this morning?"

Mr Marshall: "It’s because it’s Sats this week, Katie."

Child: "Yeah, I know that, but, I mean… how come for Sats week you have to come in early?"

Mr Marshall: "Well, they come in for the Sats breakfast, to make sure they’re set for the tests today."

Child: "So, does having breakfast make you do better in the tests?"

Mr Marshall: "Erm, well, yes, I suppose having breakfast makes anyone achieve more in the day."

Child: "How come we don’t do it every day then?"

Year 6

Child: "Mrs Caper, in our car this morning on the radio there was a man who was saying that we should just treat Sats like any other day and that schools shouldn’t do anything different."

Mrs Caper: "Was there, Max?"

Child: "Yes. I told my mum that I don’t think he knows that much about how Sats work!"

Michael Tidd is headteacher at Medmerry Primary School in West Sussex. He tweets @MichaelT1979

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