How to tell parents – and pupils – about this year’s Sats results

Teachers rise to challenge of explaining Sats results – after almost half of pupils failed to gain grade in 3Rs

Nicky Morgan, education secretary, may be happy with this year’s Sats results saying they show “there is no limit to pupils’ potential.”

But headteachers fear that parents may well be shocked at hearing that their children have not reached expected standards.

And Year 6 teachers have to break the news to their pupils, which prompted some debate in the TES community forums.

“My thoughts turn to how I tell those children who haven’t ‘passed’ any of the tests,” said one commenter. “Has anyone had any thoughts on what they are going to say? I usually tell my children individually what they have got and then it goes out formally on reports.”

One teacher replied: “We told the children who hadn’t met any tests together, so they didn’t feel alone! Could see they were in a boat with others.”

Michael Tidd, deputy head of Edgewood primary school in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire – who also teaches a Year 6 class, said: “It’s a minefield, it really is.”

He said he would be changing the way results were given to children. In the past, children had been given their results in an envelope and opened them together. But this year, the children may open their results privately. “It needs to be different,” he said. “Because the children have grown up with this system of levels, they know what the difference between level 3 and level 4 means. But we need to explain to them the difference between scoring 99 and 100.”

But he was optimistic about parents’ reactions. “The vast majority of parents have a lot of faith in the school teachers they know. Teachers know their children and know the parents. More teachers will be worried about how it will be received than need to be.

The DfE has now issued its own information for parents saying that in the end of year reports they will receive their child’s key stage 2 test results, including scaled scores. The reports will also include the teacher’s own teacher assessment judgements and their own experience of the child’s progress.

The leaflet makes it clear that expectations have been raised and adds that there is “no reason to worry” if a child isn’t at the expected standard, because tests are there to help identify where children need extra help.

Then it adds: “If you have any questions about how your child has done and what support they might need to well in secondary school, you should speak to their teacher”.

But Colin Harris, head of Warren Park primary in Havant, Hampshire, said he will be writing to parents to say “what a shambles” the test has been this year – despite his pupils getting results he was happy with. “We have met the floor standard,” said Mr Harris. “We have nothing to worry about. But the results are lower than last year and I will be saying to parents that there is a flaw in this system. I will tell them that their children have left our school as happy, well-rounded, wonderful humans ready for secondary school. They have done all right.”

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