How can we now take Sats seriously?

15th August 2008 at 01:00

I am sure that many teachers and parents will share my surprise and anger at the decision by Jim Knight, the schools minister, to publish the incomplete and discredited key stage 3 Sats results. The Department for Children, Schools and Families' own website admits the figures are based on only the 84 per cent of results for English and 94 per cent for science and maths which have been published so far, and a large proportion of these are being challenged.

Mr Knight says he has published the incomplete results following advice from the "head of profession for statistics", whoever that is. It might have been wiser to seek the advice of the professionals on the ground who know the facts and are having to deal with the distress caused by this fiasco. Or is he keen to publish quickly, while schools are on holiday, in the hope that he will escape the censure of teachers?

Our school, in common with many others throughout the country, received our English Sat results two weeks late, and were appalled at the poor quality of marking. We have refused to give our pupils results which we know are wrong and are awaiting the result of an appeal. Yet already a government minister is talking about the results as if they are a fait accompli.

Mr Knight and his team need to ignore their statistics experts and start listening to teachers. Unless they are prepared to learn from this year's disaster, they cannot expect anyone to take Sats seriously in the future.

David Nichols, Headteacher, Littleover Community School, Derby.

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