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'Simple' Sats tests will stay, says PM

Questions about Sats causing stress for pupils were raised in the Commons during Mental Health Awareness Week

Prime minister Theresa May has defended Sats tests, amid claims that they are causing primary pupils undue stress

With Year 6 children grappling with Sats questions on grammar, punctuation and mathematical problem-solving this week, MPs today discussed whether the tests should be scrapped.

Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, asked Theresa May about Sats at Prime Minister’s Questions.


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“As this is Mental Health Awareness Week, does the prime minister agree with the Labour Party that it is time to scrap tests for pre-teenage children, such as Sats and, in Kent, the 11-plus, which we know cause them to experience stress, anxiety and a sense of failure?” she said.

'It is right that Sats continue'

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 judgments 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.”

Teachers who oversaw children taking the tests this week said today’s maths papers were harder than expected and there were mixed opinions on the reading test taken yesterday.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader, announced last month that, should Labour come to power, it would abolish Sats and the Reception baseline assessment, but schools minister Nick Gibb said at the time that abolishing the tests would be a “terrible, retrograde step” because they were pivotal in raising standards in primary schools.

The key stage 2 Sats tests are taken by around 600,000 pupils in Year 6. The results will be returned to schools on 9 July.

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