Suffolk NUT welcomes SATs tests being scrapped for seven-year-olds at primary schools

Graham White, of the Suffolk National Union of Teachers. Picture: ARCHANT

Graham White, of the Suffolk National Union of Teachers. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Suffolk's largest teachers' union has welcomed the scrapping of national curriculum tests for seven year olds, describing them as a 'waste of time'.

The controversial tests, taken by around half a million youngsters each year, will no longer be compulsory from 2023, as part of a major overhaul of primary school assessment.

Instead, children will undergo a 'baseline' check at the age of four or five in their first year of infant school. Ministers have also confirmed plans to bring in a times table test in two years' time, which will be taken by children in Year 4 – aged eight and nine – rather than by 10 and 11-year-olds in Year 6 as originally suggested.

While the move to scrap SATs for seven-year-olds has been broadly welcomed, concerns have been raised by union leaders about the baseline and times tables checks, with one arguing these assessments will be of 'no educational benefit to children'.

Primary school SATs have long been controversial, with critics arguing that it puts too much pressure on young children, while supporters say they help identify youngsters that need assistance.

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Graham White, of the Suffolk National Union of Teachers, said: 'SATs have always been a waste of time, money and resources.

'They did not tell staff anything they did not know already and neither did it inform parents of anything they could not find out in more detail from the class teacher. Teachers have always assessed pupils and will continue to do so. Teachers assess pupils to see where they are at in their learning and understanding, and then devise actions that will improve understanding and support the pupil in their learning. SATs do none of that.

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'They are crude measures and are inappropriate.'

Under the changes, Key Stage 1 tests in reading, writing, maths and science – known as SATs – will no longer be compulsory.

Schools will also not be required to submit teacher assessments to the government of pupils' work in reading and maths at the age of 11. There will be a baseline assessment used as a marker of children's abilities in their reception year and this information will be used to track and measure youngsters' progress until they leave primary school.

It means that schools will be held to account for the progress children make throughout their primary school career. SATs for 11-year-olds will remain.

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