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They said ..

'Children don't notice hugely that they're taking national tests'. Jim Knight, schools minister

'Children don't notice hugely that they're taking national tests'. Jim Knight, schools minister

'Children don't notice hugely that they're taking national tests'. Jim Knight, schools minister

We say ...

Mr Knight did his best to mount a convincing defence of national testing on the BBC's Panorama.

But this claim was too much, and led his interviewer to respond, incredulously: "Don't notice they're taking Sats?"

The evidence suggests pupils would have to be extremely distracted not to notice they are taking national tests.

Research from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority found that pupils spent an average of 10 hours a week on test preparation in the four months before key stage 2 tests in May.

The minister went on to backtrack slightly, saying: "Well, I don't think it need be a huge deal. It is a snapshot of where children are at a given point in their education."

The tests may just be a snapshot, but they have become a very big deal indeed. As a committee of MPs reported this week, the tests are compromising "teachers' creativity and children's access to a balanced curriculum".

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