Schools will lose their heads over Sats results, union warns

School leaders feel the pressure amid sense of failure at new tests

Headteachers are considering resigning following this week’s Sats results, which revealed that almost half of Year 6 children had failed to meet the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, a heads’ union leader has said.

Headteachers have said that they will have to have difficult conversations with pupils, parents and governors, despite the government saying that the results cannot be compared with previous years because the tests are so different.

Schools have also been told that they will be measured against the floor standards in which 65 per cent of pupils must reach the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, or make expected progress in all three of these areas. Nationally 53 per cent of pupils reached the expected standards in reading, writing and maths.

“A lot of people are saying they have failed and might as well write their resignations now,” said Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union. “I’m saying to people, the floor has not been decided until you see the progress measures. And no one can intervene until we know what the progress measures are. But the government has to abandon the floor standards.

“It is simply not credible to set a floor standard – which measures what is unacceptably low – that is above the average score.”

The Department for Education has said that it will cap the number of schools that can be below the floor standard at one percentage point more than last year, when 5 per cent – 676 primary schools – did not reach the floor.

The Department for Education stressed that ministers had advised the regional schools commissioners and Ofsted to take the fact that it was the first year of a new assessment system into account when they are considering school performance.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan told a gathering of headteachers this week: “It is important that all involved see these results for what they are – a reflection of how well children this year have performed against a new curriculum. I believe this is a good start that vindicates our decision to raise standards and will help ensure those who need extra help get the support they need to lay the foundations for a bright future.”

@teshelen

This is an edited version of an article in the 8 July edition of TES. Subscribers can view the full article here. This week’s TES magazine 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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