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Testing times to come as Sats given go-ahead

Unions warn of `a collision ahead' after Education Secretary's announcement on May 9 exams

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Unions warn of `a collision ahead' after Education Secretary's announcement on May 9 exams

The government is to press ahead with key stage 2 Sats as usual in 2011, despite this year's boycott.

The decision to run the tests in the second week of May, as in previous years, has also overturned Labour proposals to move Sats week to June in 2011.

The announcement has severely disappointed the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the NUT, which organised this year's protest, arguing that the tests disrupted learning in Year 6 and were used in league tables.

Official figures released this week show that 4,005 primaries (26 per cent) of the 15,515 eligible maintained schools did not take the tests. The Government also published a list of schools which took part in the boycott.

Speaking earlier this week, Education Secretary Michael Gove argued it was crucial the tests continued and would start next year on May 9, saying that it was "unfortunate parents and pupils in the schools that boycotted the tests will not benefit from the information that can be taken from test results".

Mr Gove did, however, leave a glimmer of hope for campaigners, promising a review of the system. "I accept there are flaws in the current testing system so I am committed to reviewing national curriculum tests to ensure they are as rigorous as possible and in the best interests of schools, children, parents and the public."

Mick Brookes, general secretary of the NAHT, was angry at the Government's stance. "We are supposed to be having negotiations and this does not help," he said. "We have met with the Secretary of State and put a reasoned proposal to him.

"If we have these decisions by announcement, then I see a collision ahead. I think there will be a greater appetite for taking action next year."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: "The fact that members in schools boycotted the key stage 2 Sats this year, and that very many who didn't remain deeply opposed to the current high-stakes testing system, is a very clear message to the Secretary of State."

Janis Burdin, head of Moss Side Primary School in Leyland, Lancashire, boycotted the tests. Pupils took lessons as usual during Sats week and the level they were working at was assessed by teachers.

She said: "Pupils are going up this year with more accurate levels than before. I know children who have pulled out all the stops in a test and gone up with a higher level than they were working at.

"Similarly, some children have gone up to high school with a lower level. This year, if we say a child is working at level 4a, they are definitely at level 4a."

  • Original headline: Testing times to come as Sats given go-ahead for next year

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