Exclusive: Scrap Sats, say teachers and parents – but pupils want primary tests to stay

A divide between adults and children over assessment is uncovered by surveys from TES, Mumsnet and First News

Most teachers and parents want primary school Sats scrapped, but more than half of pupils think the tests should stay, exclusive new surveys reveal.

The results were published as 10- and 11-year-olds took tests this week in an atmosphere of increasing anger over the government’s handling of the new primary assessment.

Teachers’ leaders warned that the system had descended into a “shambles”, with a paper leaked online hours before it was taken.

Now, joint polling by TES, Mumsnet and First News, the newspaper for children, reveals that 89 per cent of teachers want the Sats abolished, and 68 per cent of parents agree. But, in contrast, 56 per cent of pupils want to keep the tests.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT heads’ union, said: “When parents, children, teachers and school leaders are raising concerns, the government should listen.”

Unions are increasingly determined that there should be a full rethink of the primary assessment system – before more planned changes are introduced.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT teaching union, has called on ministers to carry out an “immediate root-and-branch review of primary curriculum and assessment”.

‘Sats cause stress’

Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts added: “Parents on Mumsnet are, on the whole, worried that Sats cause their children stress as well as a narrowing of horizons.”

Editor of First News Nicky Cox said: “Our survey shows that children are more capable of taking things in their stride than the adults around them sometimes think.”

But Michael Tidd, deputy head of Edgewood Primary in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, who also teaches a Year 5/6 class, pointed out that children were perhaps less likely to question the school system than teachers or parents.

“My pupils were astounded that I hadn’t done Sats, because they can’t conceive of a world where they don’t exist,” he said.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “These tests should not be stressful and we know that good schools manage them appropriately.

“This survey shows that 56 per cent of pupils themselves do not mind the tests, which help teachers understand how pupils are doing and identify where additional support is needed.”

This article is part of a four-page special report on Sats week in the 13 May edition of TES. Buy the magazine and read about how this year’s primary assessment descended into ‘chaos’. This week’s TES is available at all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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