Scrap Sats to tackle learning gap, DfE told

Social Mobility Commission also calls for funding for mid-career teachers as incentive to work at disadvantaged schools

Replace Sats to tackle learning gap, says Social Mobility Commission

A group of social mobility experts who advise the government has called for Sats to be replaced in order to boost the chances of disadvantaged children.

The Social Mobility Commission (SMC) says Sats in both Years 2 and 6 should be replaced with “an externally moderated digital portfolio of work”, which must be shared with secondary schools to enable smoother transitions between key stages as well as being assessed in order to continue monitoring attainment gaps.

It also says primary schools should design these assessments themselves in partnership with secondary schools into which they feed.

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Among other proposals for schools outlined in the SMC's State of the Nation Report published today is a call to provide funding to schools for teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) for mid-career teachers.

Social mobility: Sats should be replaced, says report

This, says the SMC, will create “an additional incentive for experienced teachers to go to or stay at disadvantaged schools”.

Sandra Wallace, interim co-chair of the SMC, said: “Now is the time to take action and we must not shy away from difficult decisions. Now is the moment to level up opportunities for children across the country. Ending child poverty and investing significantly in education are two of the most impactful and influential things the UK government can do to improve social mobility.”

The 29-page report calls for “significant investment in education to put disadvantaged children and young people at centre stage of the government’s recovery plan”.

It calls for GCSE and A-level students to be kept in school and taught “life skills” after they’ve completed their exams.

It states: “Young people taking GCSEs and A levels should be required to stay in schools after exams for catch-up. In the future, this time should be used to teach employability and life skills (eg, CV writing, budgeting, etc).”

It also calls for the government to target additional pupil premium funds to students who have been in poverty for 80 per cent of their time in education, and for an evaluation to take place of the early years pupil premium to identify how it is being used and whether there are any barriers to accessing it and what a fair value should be.

A Government spokesperson said: “We have committed to an ambitious, and long-term education recovery plan, including an investment to date of over £3bn and a significant expansion of our tutoring programme, to support children and young people to make up for learning lost during the pandemic.”

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