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Is the Sats boycott good for education?

10:43 UK time, Monday, 10 May 2010

Hundreds of schools in England are staging a boycott of the national schools tests, known as Sats. Will your child be affected by the boycott?

The industrial action is being taken by the National Association of Head Teachers and heads and deputies in the National Union of Teachers but members are free to stage the action or not.

About 600,000 10 and 11-year-olds are due to take the tests this week. But head teachers say that the tests damage children's education and encourage teachers to "teach to the test", so that other subjects are squeezed out.

However, authorities see the tests as a vital way that schools are held accountable to both the government and parents.

Are the Sats tests a good way to improve education? Do you think they pevent the teaching of a wider curriculum? Are you a teacher or a parent?What are your views on the tests?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.


Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I can see the point made by the teachers; it distorts the whole education process and this can't be good. The problem is really the emphasis put on league tables, targets and form filling instead of giving our young children a proper, general education and ensuring that they are all literate and numerate before moving on to secondary education.

    In the days of the 11+ (which I sat some 56 years ago) there wasn't this mania for statistics and we sat them as a matter of course. The pressure wasn't there (unless you count a mother and two aunts who were teachers!) and the schools didn't rely so much on the results for funding and status.

  • Comment number 2.

    Of course the Heads hate the SATS. SATS are an indicator of basic levels of education. Schoolteachers are too busy filling the heads of children with leftie-liberal propaganda about Global Warming myths (now debunked by Prof Lovelock), and how terrible the western nations are towards Palestine and Africa, and how we should give these countries even more of our money rather than actually producing productive youngsters who have skills that they can put to use in our economy and make a living for themselves.

  • Comment number 3.

    Aren't the SATS just a part of the labour governments obsession with quantifying and qualilifying every aspect of public services in order to produce statistics which can then be used to prove to the public everybody is performing?

    The problem being, as these Head Masters have highlighted, that often the process of data-gathering, in this case the SATs is expensive and can be damaging to the operation of the organisations themselves and the data produced doesn't give anything like the full picture anyway.

  • Comment number 4.

    Couldn't they have boycotted them from the start of the next school year instead? Seems like pupils will have wasted a lot of time this year trying to pass them.

  • Comment number 5.

    Fabulous- they should have been scrapped ages ago. I did SATs about 9 years ago, and it spoiled my year 6 experience. I only did english, maths and science for a whole year, and had maybe 2-3 other subjects a week (1 lesson of PE, maybe 1 of history and that was about it) Anything that was not going to be in the exam was not done.
    A terrible way to teach children and good riddance.

  • Comment number 6.

    Yes, it's good. The schools in this area are boycotting them, and they have my full support.

    If people say that children have 'wasted their time' getting ready for them, then that shows how bad an idea the SATs are. However, the teachers I've spoken to (including an ex-head teacher) say that their time has not been wasted at all, as it's still learning. However, they'd prefer that the time was spent on more rounded learning, rather than the excessively narrow learning needed to do well at the SATs.

    My main reason for disliking SATs is not that they are exams, or even that they are national exams, but that the results are published and used for things they are not suitable for. This puts far too much pressure on the children, and on the teachers.

    The SATs don't benefit the children at all (unlike GCSEs/A Levels).

  • Comment number 7.

    4. At 11:26am on 10 May 2010, Rufus McDufus wrote:

    Couldn't they have boycotted them from the start of the next school year instead? Seems like pupils will have wasted a lot of time this year trying to pass them."

    They HAD to boycott them near the event. Otherwise the government would have done all sorts (legal action, injunctions etc) to get them to be carried out. By announcing the boycott just before the exams, AND in an election year, means the government has had limited time to do anything. (Seems very clever to me).

    If pupils have 'wasted time', then why have they been taught things they didn't need to know? Isn't that just another indication of how flawed SATs are?

  • Comment number 8.

    If you want your child to get into KEGS or the Girls High School in Chelmsford it is a must on their books. But to go into a normal every day school in this area it is a waste of time as they immediately sit the children to see what set best suits there needs. And to be honest the two schools may be down the road from me but i have heard from parents who have been there and they all say stick normal. I do travel quite a way to my childrens schools though as i prefer the one they are in. Choice is an option.

  • Comment number 9.

    150-100 years ago, we had people leaving school with a fantastic education, proficient in Maths, English, Greek, Latin etc. These people went on to University, and then became statesmen, scientists, writers, artists etc. They built an empire. Yes, they were the children of the rich, while the poor had virtually no education beyond the basics.
    In the quest for "fairness" and "equality", the children of the poor didn't get the amazing education the rich got: the rich got dumbed down into receiving the same basic education the poor got. Now, we are a tin-pot little country sinking further into the mire every year. Co-incidence?
    The whole education system needs revising, so all our children can have a better education. Then there wouldn't be any need for SATS.

  • Comment number 10.

    A good thing I think. There were no SATS in my day and at least I can read, write and spell as well as count! A lot of children today leave school without the basics in education ie the three 'Rs'.

    Teachers should be concentrating on education not targets - thank God labour have been voted out as it is their target-driven obsession that has ruined this country in so many areas like school and the NHS.

  • Comment number 11.

    School should be about learning the basics, not generating statistics!!!

  • Comment number 12.

    The Scottish education system has become a lot better than the English. They never have had SATS and now produce better educated children. SATS produce teachers than teach to the test, encourage uninventive teaching and lessons and are rather useless.

  • Comment number 13.

    Good.

    Stupid system from a succession of stupid governments.

    Osric is quite right; an obsessive government obsessed with control, passing the buck and proving everything is hunky-dory. If you want proof of the success of their educational reforms take a look at out streets and then at our crack houses.

  • Comment number 14.

    It is good for education, but the whole issue is wider than this and extends across all public sector jobs, including police, council workers, the NHS. We want accountability for those employed by the state, but we do not want to measure their performance. There must be some sort of balance, but I own up that I have no idea what it is.

  • Comment number 15.

    How is a parent to know how thier kids are progressing without it, or is that not important anymore, are schools about education or somewheree to stick your kids! My son can easily be looked after anywhere and i dont pay good moeny to see him stagnate, kids are sponges and we need to take this time to filltheir heads with intellect not Power rangers and the sort, and there is proof the country is getting more and more illiterate! so again what is wrong with it, because i think its essential for any childs development!

  • Comment number 16.

    The incoming gvovernment should abolish them. What do they tell us what in most cases we already For instance that Middle class catchment areas prpoduce better results than sink estates. That some scholls in the inner cities under perform, while some small rural schools excell, well we know that already. The stats can be falsified by making sure that dumbest kids stay away on the day of the stats.

    The Education authority should have its finger on the pulse and spot failing scholls caused by poor teaching or leadership. There are poor teachers and poor leadership in some schools, but stats are not the way to go about it.

  • Comment number 17.

    It's good for England that English schools are rejecting an English education system foisted upon them by Scot run Labour and carried by the votes of Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish MPs.

    English education should be determined by English MPs and no-one else.

  • Comment number 18.

    What do the Children get from doing SATs ?

    With 2 children at this age, it has never been explained to me. Their education seems to be quite narrow, and the intellectual rigour very limited.

    Yes, drop SATs and broaden the education given

  • Comment number 19.

    Don't just abolish the SATS for 11 year-olds, get rid of them for the seven year-olds as well. I totally agree with the teachers boycotting the SATS. What are we doing to our children in this country??? My son is six and will still be six when doing SATS this summer. It is patently obvious to any parent that children of this age are still developing...all of a sudden they can do something really well, which a week ago they couldn't master at all; they just weren't ready. It is ludicrous to put them through all this academic pressure at such a young age. Let teachers do what they do best: teach. Let Heads make decisions, that's why they're in the job. Surely we have gone mad with all this Labour targeting and pigeonholing nonsense. Our children are in danger of burn-out before they reach secondary school.

  • Comment number 20.

    If all SATs do is provide data for government rather than improving teaching then teachers are right to boycott - particularly, as is suggested, focusing on passing the tests is actually bad for pupils rounded intellectual development.

    #9 No, what ruined empire was the realisation that we couldn't go around killing people to take their resources...

    #2 you must know a different side to Prof Lovelock, who actually states (interview March 2010) that it is basically too late to prevent the damage we have done from worsening unless one single, visible event, such as the imminent collapse of an icesheet, galvanises humanity to work co-operatively. He respects "good" sceptics as being critics beneficial for the scientific process but describes himself as being on the side of the scientific 'angels' who warn of our effect on the climate. At least read what someone has to say before using them to support your viewpoint.

  • Comment number 21.


    What a truly magnificent example of law breaking for the youngsters in the care of these head teachers. If you don't like what the law says you simply ignore it. I also note that the NUT thought it appropriate to have a number of children engaged in the publicity for their support of tjis non-compliance. Don't worry parents, the unions will ensure that your children have an "appropriate" education, just don't ask for an independent assessment.

  • Comment number 22.

    As with most legislation invented by the past two Labour governments, the invention of Sats appears to be yet another example of their micro-management of an essential national asset- too little and far too late.
    The results of the tests are (hopefully soon to be ‘were’) used to grade the overall suitability of individual primary schools to continue to teach our children into a league table just like football clubs. To pass judgement on the merit of schools at this late stage, and with just these narrow results, seems like bolting the stable door long after the horse has bolted.
    Unlike the 11+ and other multiple subject tests of children’s abilities in the round in previous decades, they concentrate solely on the basic three R’s instead of the full curriculum of every school. Any child of 10 or 11 years of age should have assimilated a good grasp of the basic tools of education several years before this time.
    It’s only natural that this Whitehall scrutiny, so late in a child’s formative years, appears to concentrate the work of teachers into constant revision and cramming of just three basic learning needs to the exclusion of every other facet of a rounded basic education. This puts appalling stress on children - and teachers - at a time when a whole new wonderful world of information, education and personal betterment is due to reveal itself at their new secondary schools.
    This strikes me as an extremely negative and minimalist approach to judging the worth of our nation’s teachers and their schools. Test the basics at ages 6, 7 and 8, with remedial tuition at every stage, and the need for Sats goes away. The children are equipped to take on new subjects, mind stretching lines of enquiry and projects that make their educational futures seem fun and exciting – not just a dumbed down stepping stone to menial work for the rest of their lives.
    Whether Head Teachers should refuse to carry out these tests is not a question I’d like to answer – especially since the subject matter of Sat examinations is restricted to basic skills that all kids should have assimilated several years previously.

  • Comment number 23.

    15. At 12:14pm on 10 May 2010, D wrote:

    How is a parent to know how thier kids are progressing without it?"

    Erm - talk to their teachers?

    99.999999% of the time, your child's teacher will be able to tell you what grade your child would have got in the SATs. The SATs are just for the government's statistics.

  • Comment number 24.

    The boycott is rather silly: the damage has already been done to this year's crop of Year 6 pupils - their time has been frittered away in drilling in how to fill out the test paper instead of actually learning anything. My daughter, a bright young lady, came home every day during her Y6 complaining that she had not learned anything new that day.

    For this reason, that the time has ALREADY been wasted, the headteacher at the primary where I'm a governor has decided to hold the tests.

    The other bad thing about the tests is the stress generated in the children. When my daughter was a Y6, I'd spent a lot of time telling her that they didn't matter in the slightest. She quite likes doing quizzes and tests anyway, so sauntered in and did them without turning a hair (top marks across the board as well). The real problem was her form teacher, who was clearly giving the impression that getting stressed over the SATs was normal and to be expected, and many of the children absorbed that and did get badly wound up. And that's a bad thing because a stressed-out child does not perform as well as a calm one.

    Moderated in-class assessment is a far better way to go. Tests are not a bad thing in themselves, but the amount of fuss made over them and over league tables serves nobody.

    And when my daughter reached high school? All the brand-new Year 7s got handed test papers to decide how to group them for each subject. The high school wasn't interested in SATs results, it preferred to work from primary school teachers' references and their own in-house testing.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'm amazed and pleasantly surprised by the support for the SATs boycott, so far. I work in Year 6 and my class have just taken the Reading test. One capable pupil has clearly panicked and their test result will probably 'demonstrate' they are working at some low (abstract) level when I have plenty of evidence collected during the year that proves otherwise. Thanks to a 45min test, it is now irrefutable that she is virtually illiterate and I am an incapable teacher. I wonder how many of these 'expert' teacher bashers are held accountable by such a worryingly simplistic system?

    No doubt they will say they all do. I've worked in the private sector before teaching and, unlike them, know differently. So please, don't deprive the children/nation of your incredible expertise and insight - come and show us all how easily it is done.

  • Comment number 26.

    20. At 12:33pm on 10 May 2010, Cav wrote:

    #9 No, what ruined empire was the realisation that we couldn't go around killing people to take their resources..."

    I'm not sure some people in power have realised that yet...

  • Comment number 27.

    I thought that teachers were implementers of educational curriculae?

    How on earth can it be legal for them to strike...for being asked to do their job?

    Ah well.bit more time off...

  • Comment number 28.

    Once again we have a situation where a Government fails to listen to those in know.

  • Comment number 29.

    1. At 11:15am on 10 May 2010, pjaj wrote:
    I can see the point made by the teachers; it distorts the whole education process and this can't be good. The problem is really the emphasis put on league tables, targets and form filling instead of giving our young children a proper, general education and ensuring that they are all literate and numerate before moving on to secondary education.

    In the days of the 11+ (which I sat some 56 years ago) there wasn't this mania for statistics and we sat them as a matter of course. The pressure wasn't there (unless you count a mother and two aunts who were teachers!) and the schools didn't rely so much on the results for funding and status.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Agreed. Time taken in testing is reduced time for teaching. Not sure about the 11+ though. In my school, a little further back than your 56 years ago, my class was put through the mill in the year preceding the 11+ exam. English, Arithmetic and a few puzzles which I realised years later were typical of the intelligence questions on the exam. Nothing else. No History. No Geography. No Art or Craft. Definitely no foreign languages. There was a statistic though. Only 15% ever got to Grammar School, because places were fixed in number. Oh yes. I failed!

  • Comment number 30.

    Anyone who has read the mark scheme for, in particular, Literacy cannot fail to answer this question with anything other than a resounding "Yes".

    Teachers have to teach to the SATs - the league tables demand this of them. In order to do well in the SATs a pupil has to show certain linguistic and stylistic tricks - tricks that can be easily taught. The overall contribution to original thought and development of a personal relationship with the English language achieved by this ? Very little.

    Building up to the SAT's wastes 1 or 2 terms of Year 6, terms which could have been spent reinforcing skills and instilling a love of learning in still young and receptive minds.

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    Headteachers are a hypocritical bunch of overpaid, low grade bureaucrats who enthusiastically endorsed New Labour and all of its cankered so-called education policies, dictated by a rabble of useless Labour education ministers, most of whom were sacked or resigned. These endless diktats have left classroom teachers 'drowning' in a 'sea' of paperwork and targets, all of which detracts from their primary job - to teach. As a result, tragically, some children are leaving school at 16 illiterate. Discipline in schools and respect for teachers has also massively decline during the past 13 years thanks to the government's failed education policies and obsession with co-called 'rights' for children and attacks on the teaching profession in order to denigrate it. Headteachers have also endorsed this sickening trend.
    Whenever teaching unions call a strike, teachers are deliberately humilitated by headteachers summoning them to their offices to ask them if they are to resign, in a style Stalin would have been proud of.
    When it now suits them, some headteachers decide to boycott SATS tests. This is a witting dreeliction of duty in a public office. If they will not abide by ther lawe, then it is uncumbent upon the LEA and government to bring in someone who will. SATS must be taken, in accordance with the law, until such time as the government of the day changes the law.

  • Comment number 33.

    Assessment of children by formal examination has never been popular with the generally left-leaning teaching "profession". How else do you gauge the progress of children, in a manner that allows comparison from school to school, and region to region?
    Assessment by teacher has its merits, but only within a single class or school, because it is the inherently-biased opinion of an individual, rather than a truly objective, dispassionate and comparable appraisal.
    One only has to look to GCSE Coursework, to see how the true level of a pupil's efforts may be massaged and enhanced by input from a teacher. My own granddaughter's GCSE French coursework was exemplary, despite the fact that she can barely utter a coherent sentence in the language.
    To say that children find examinations stressful is such a pallid and feeble statement. If we are to prepare children for life after school, they must learn not to wilt at the first whiff of "stress".

  • Comment number 34.

    Is the Sats boycott good for education? Yes. Try testing the schools instead!

  • Comment number 35.

    SATs are just a snapshot of a schools performance based upon a term spent continually revising (and for some external tutoring). This is not a refelct of quality and continual improvement and gives a false impression.

    The focus is also too narrow but at short notice they've just added Science to my daughter's school tests - you should've seen the panic in the teachers and the pre-emptive excuses at parents evening.

    It is not the stress it is the unrealistic results and tables that the govt and parents believe to be the bible!

  • Comment number 36.

    My partner is a teacher and I see the amount of extra pointless work that has to be done to appease government targets. And I see that the SATs tests don't do anything to improve education, teaching does.

    Generally the children who do well at school are those whose parents continue their education at home. The SATs quantifies schools and encourages too much reliance and therefore lazy parenting.

    The education system should be a school/parent partnership. The schools can only work with what they get. If a child can't even speak English or is having to deal with an abusive home life then what do you expect teachers to do? Unfortunately the reality is that some areas are worse off than others, and to compare schools on a national level is demeaning and offensive to many schools who have to actually work harder, to get the children even up to the national average.

  • Comment number 37.

    So it's ok to disobey rules if you don;t agree with them?

    That's a fine example to set our children!

  • Comment number 38.

    SATS and such like exams were invented in an attempt to monitor the education system and see if value for money was being delivered. This hasn't happened, what has happened is that they have been hijaked by a limp and lack lustre government and a buntch of statisticians looking to justify why they should keep their jobs...sack the lot of them. As the saying goes There are lies, Accountants, and staticicans.

    As a youngun I have test set by teacher at regular intervals during the year, these were aimed to make sure that I had learnt and understood what was taught. When I went tocomprehensive I sat end of year exams for the same reason. The big test came when I had to sit CSE's and O levels, this proved whether the schools had educatd me well enough. Then all children had to be entered by the school into a minimum of CSE in English Language, Literature, Maths, a science and one other exam. This hould be brought back as it appears school can fundge the league table by not entering children if they don't believe they will pass the GCSE. More to the point they appear to make sure that only children that are capable of getting C and above are enetered.

    I hope the next governemnt scrap the targets and start focusing on the real need, the rasie the level of education and to continue to raise this through stricter and harder examination, and by the way get rid of course work as it so easy to cheat and it doesn't really prove anything other than a candidate can talk with others and copy past works.

  • Comment number 39.

    As they say 'You don't fatten a pig by weighing'.

  • Comment number 40.

    No this move is not good, it is a disgrace. SATs have been great for education and I don't want them thrown out just because some teachers are too lazy to teach properly.
    Those who boycott must be dismissed today

  • Comment number 41.

    All forms of industrial action are destuctive, but most are made necessary by the perversity of those in power who refuse to listen to those over whom they assume control.
    So it is with SATs.
    I took part in the first boycott years ago when they were introduced. That was called the largest demonstration of civil disobedience that had ever taken place in this country at the time. The government did not listen, and generations of children since have had their educational experience blighted because their teachers turned of necessity into exam coaches. Perhaps now, with KS3 SATs a thing of the past, and with the example of Scotland and Wales before them, those in power will finally listen to those who know what they are doing and get rid of this useless imposition on children, teachers and schools.

  • Comment number 42.

    15. At 12:14pm on 10 May 2010, D wrote:
    "How is a parent to know how thier kids are progressing without it, or is that not important anymore, are schools about education or somewheree to stick your kids! "

    Parents would know how their children are progressing in the way they always did, through reports, internal school exams, parents days and taking an interest in their child's progress. You do not need SATs for this.

    I think they should be scrapped, primary school education should be about getting a broad knowledge and fostering an intrest in learning rather than cramming for exams

  • Comment number 43.

    At 1:10pm on 10 May 2010, chris berridge wrote:
    "So it's ok to disobey rules if you don;t agree with them?
    That's a fine example to set our children!"

    If you believe the rules are wrong and that they are negatively impacting your profession, it is your duty to try and change them. Sticking up for what you believe in is a great example to set our children

  • Comment number 44.

    AirdUig 1984 wrote:
    I thought that teachers were implementers of educational curriculae?
    How on earth can it be legal for them to strike...for being asked to do their job?
    Ah well.bit more time off...



    If you don't know the difference between a strike and a boycott then maybe it's time you went back to school...

  • Comment number 45.

    Guess they'll be boycotting being paid for the day as well.

  • Comment number 46.

    If SATs cause "teaching to the test" then the system needs improving. However, I believe the boycott is essntially about teachers thinking they should not be scrutinised by people outside the teaching profession. They want to rely on teacher assessments, as if they are going to admit that they aren't up to the job. As for "pupil stress" - so what? Why should children be protected from the things that society throws at them later in life? I was at primary school in the 50s & 60s and testing was a regular part of school life. We just got on with it and I don't remember anyone suffering from "stress related disorders".

  • Comment number 47.

    This is yet another example where authorities meddle and interfere in matters that should always be under the strict control of teachers, governors and parents, and nobody else.

    When I listen to some of the utter nonsense spouted by Balls and his trendy crowd, I'm not surprised there is so much confusion and disgruntlement about today's education policies. Everything seems to change month by month, and nobody knows where they are.

    In my time (1950s and 1960s) education was settled and sensible, focussing on the 3 Rs. It's no wonder we learned far more about the major subjects than youngsters today, and were able to sit and pass rather more demanding examination papers than the multiple-choice efforts we have now.

  • Comment number 48.

    "33. At 1:00pm on 10 May 2010, Philip wrote:
    Assessment of children by formal examination has never been popular with the generally left-leaning teaching "profession". How else do you gauge the progress of children, in a manner that allows comparison from school to school, and region to region?
    Assessment by teacher has its merits, but only within a single class or school, because it is the inherently-biased opinion of an individual, rather than a truly objective, dispassionate and comparable appraisal.
    One only has to look to GCSE Coursework, to see how the true level of a pupil's efforts may be massaged and enhanced by input from a teacher. My own granddaughter's GCSE French coursework was exemplary, despite the fact that she can barely utter a coherent sentence in the language.
    To say that children find examinations stressful is such a pallid and feeble statement. If we are to prepare children for life after school, they must learn not to wilt at the first whiff of "stress". "

    I recommend this comment

  • Comment number 49.

    Over hundred's of years this country has produced some of the worlds greatest inventors, industrialists, mathematicians, chemists, manufacturing engineers all without SATS. The way we educate is wrong, testing is next to useless. We need to look at our history to show our future needs.

  • Comment number 50.

    Teachers are employed by the local authority, who in turn answer to the central government. If they don’t like what is being done then take up issues by the recognised way. The last time I Looked you do what your employer tells you to do within the bounds of the law.

    It not as though the Government has a monopoly on bad ideas is it teachers? “Ba Ba Rainbow Sheep”, Banning the Word “Christmas” in favour of winter holidays, Stopping photographs of school plays because of some over zealous risk assessments that put us all down as paedophiles etc etc,

    It’s about time these teachers towed the line on a few things.

  • Comment number 51.

    If it's true that much educational effort focuses on these tests then all the system is doing is training children to pass tests, not to be educated.

  • Comment number 52.

    A number of schools that have choosen to boycott SAT's are using 2009 papers to assess pupils.

    The head of my children's school advised us that he would be using 2009 papers.

    The students have downloaded these papers from the internet and a number have already tried the tests at home!

    What sort of assessment is this!

  • Comment number 53.

    I always found the SATs to be a very good way of checking my children's progress, more objective than a school report, though I needed both to give me full picture. Instead of boycotting the SATs headteachers should insist on their staff teaching the full syllabus, instead of working to make their school look good by concentrating on SATs subjects.

  • Comment number 54.

    Any teacher deciding that they are not doing this should have their pay stopped with immediate effect.

    This is a failure to carry out a duty which they are being paid for, if this was the private sector they would be sacked.

    If they dislike the job that much, then leave and see how far you get with your bullying attitude in the real world.

    I also suspect the schools with little interest in supporting these tests will be the ones expecting the lowest score.

    Its arrogant to play politics with the lives of children, and thats all these unions are doing, it has ntohing to do with the childrens education and more to do with protecting their members, no matter how useless they are.

  • Comment number 55.

    Errata

    As they say 'You don't fatten a pig by weighing it'.

  • Comment number 56.

    I totally agree with the teachers on this one.

    Constant grade targets set by the government have led schools to change their approach - they are no longer teaching a child so they can understand books or do mathematics... they are teaching them to pass Number Skills 3 or whatever.

    At my Uni I already see the latest intake floundering at the most basic of tasks. Why? They have all been taught to pass exams, not to think - when they are faced with a problem they can only solve it when given the solution. Similarly, just like exams, the instant they have solved problem 1 all the knowledge they used to solve it is filtered out.

    I genuinely think the education system is sapping childrens creative capabilities - certainly not helped by this ridiculous notion 50% of people should attend University.

    It has been appreciated for well over 30 years that rote learning and static classrooms environments are not the way to go so why do we still do it? Learning is a matter of preparation - passing an exam proves you can pass an exam, not that you can be useful in society.

  • Comment number 57.

    33. At 1:00pm on 10 May 2010, Philip wrote:

    Assessment of children by formal examination has never been popular with the generally left-leaning teaching "profession". How else do you gauge the progress of children, in a manner that allows comparison from school to school, and region to region?"

    Do you need to gauge the progress of children at 10/11 years old?

    How does a test at 10/11 gauge their progress? All it tests is their achievement, not their progress.

    It doesn't help the children at all. It doesn't help the parents at all. It doesn't help the teachers at all. It doesn't help the school at all. I'm not sure who it does help, other than giving people working in LEAs or the DCSF a job to do.

    How does knowing that school A doesn't get as good grades as school B help anything?

    All that happens is that it becomes self-perpetuating. Good parents put their kids into school B, and, because the parents are involved in their children's education, this helps school B get good grades again. The teachers' influence might be minimal.

    School A might be very good at dealing with children with learning difficulties, but because of that they end up with lower grades - it doesn't mean they're a worse school.

  • Comment number 58.

    Teachers as usual are claiming to have "pupils education" at heart when finding a way to avoid tests that flag up how well schools perform and help identify poor teaching. A good teacher has nothing to fear from sats only poor teachers would wish to get rid of them so they can hide. If the concerns are genuinely about teaching the testec on pupils then it is the test that should be resdesigned to prevent such a poor use of time. Scrapping tests is of no benefit to anyone

  • Comment number 59.

    28. At 12:46pm on 10 May 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Once again we have a situation where a Government fails to listen to those in know.

    ---------------------------------

    But the reality is that teacher's DON'T know, and neither do all those educational academics. Like almost everything in education, this whole issue has been hijacked by two competing doctrines; one left leaning and to other right wing, and all objectivity and unbiased assessment of the evidence has gone out of the window.

    What we need is an unbiased assessment of whether or not the SATs are achieving their dual aims of informing parents and teachers about pupils' progress, and assessing the performance of both teachers and the schools. If they are, then the unions should shut up, and if they are not, then what are the alternatives, and how well would they achieve these aims?

    If you don;t believe me about veested interests and bias, the consider this: It is always important to also remember that the teaching unions are there to represent the best interests of their members. They are not professional bodies with the aim of improving educations. (If you disagree with me here's a simple question: How many times has the National Association of Head Teachers or the National Union of Teachers) actively taken action to remove poor and inadequate teachers from their posts? And how many times have they defended inadequate teachers, who should have been removed quickly?)

  • Comment number 60.

    I totally agree with the boycott of the Sats. Having gone through my education having to do Sats in Years 2, 6 and 9 and then GCSE's and A-levels I fully understand the pressure put on the students. I have always said, now and during my education, that I was never taught anything to widen my knowledge but I was taught to pass an exam. Lesson after lesson spent on how to answer a question, not what to write but how best to formulate an answer so the examiner will give full marks. The system is totally backwards! So 8 years of education comes down to a few hours (if not less) of exmas and only in maths and english? well we know what this leads to....lessons spent solely on revision of maths and english. When I was in Year 6 i don't remember learning about much else other than maths and english. Maybe one hour a week of History and Geography and Art and Tech...well what is that?! So yes, boycott the Sats make the Government come up with another way to try and make it look as if all children are hitting their "Target level" some people are adapted to academia some aren't it's not a problem but it is unfair for the pupils. Oooh and OFSTED inspections don't get me started on those....told weeks in advance when they are coming, ask naughty kids to stay at home "prepare" classes weeks in advance, get told to answer questions and be active in the classroom....overall there is no way to know how a school is doing as there are always ways to beat the system!!

  • Comment number 61.

    How you test kids is of no interest to me. Most (and I do mean MOST)are inarticulate, innumerate and illiterate when they leave school. They are useless as employees and barely able to function as members of society let alone as productive ones. I don't care what the exam results say, anyone who can remove the PC blinkers will be able to see that the exams are so easy now that a trained monkey could manage an A*.

  • Comment number 62.

    Am I alone in failing to see where the 'pressure' on schoolchildren comes from with SATS. There is no pass or fail for the child and the only negative consequences relate to a judgement about the school's and teacher's capability. Any pressure on the children therefore is being transferred from their teachers in frankly an unprofessional manner.

    Instead the teachers seem to want to move to a system where they tell us what a fantastic job they are doing by their own judgement and we just sit down, shut up and pay the bill.

    No area of work paid for by general taxation should be above external scrutiny. In the absence of a profit motive to test for efficiency external review is the only sensible way forward. Whilst I have sympathy with teachers over many things, discipline and unwarrented accusations being but two, this is not one of them.

  • Comment number 63.

    "How is a parent to know how thier kids are progressing without it"

    How do you know? You go to Parents Evenings and read this thing called a School Report they bring home each year. If any parent is seriously waiting for Year 6 SATS results to tell then how their child is progressing, then they should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

  • Comment number 64.

    Unfortunately exams are necessary. Without exams and tests, how do you know who is working hard and who is just day-dreaming in class? Coursework and homework does not work, some pupils get more help than others from their parents and some copy answers from the internet or other pupils. Exams and tests are an important tool for identifying those pupils that are working and those that are not. Education for the sake of it is a nice idea, but an important part of education is to help schools, universities and employers differentiate between pupils. Why not give the hardworking pupils the chance to stand-out in the SATs? They will need to deal with stress later in life and protecting them from the stress of SATs isn't necessarily going to be good for them in the long-run.

  • Comment number 65.

    “…Head teachers say that the tests damage children's education and encourage teachers to "teach to the test", so that other subjects are squeezed out.

    However, authorities see the tests as a vital way that schools are held accountable to both the government and parents.”

    This sums up the whole failing system, head teachers are supposedly the top professional at education, therefore some weight should be given to their judgement. But no! We will listen to the local authorities, their staff are bound to know more than a person with say twenty years experience, after all, until last week the staff where recording dog fouling problems.

    But then instead of capable individuals we listen to MP’s to run the country – many are not even capable of recording dog fouling problems!

  • Comment number 66.

    53. At 1:37pm on 10 May 2010, yellowsandydog wrote:

    I always found the SATs to be a very good way of checking my children's progress"

    How can SATs be useful for checking your child's progress? To check progress you need to have regular updates. They only get SATs tests at age 11. Even if the 7 year-old SATs were tests (rather than the teacher assessment they are), that would still be 4 years between the tests.

    We get termly updates from the teachers, or go in and chat to them whenever we want, so if there's a problem we don't have 4 years before finding out.

    SATs are useful for saying 'my child is cleverer than yours' - but they're just like MOTs, they just give a snapshot on a particular day. If your child has just fallen out with their BFF, then they'll get a lower than expected result, it doesn't mean they just got less intelligent.

  • Comment number 67.

    The boycott has nothing to do with the children and their teaching but is yet another example of teachers refusing to accept anything which might also be used to assess whether the teachers are up to scratch.

    I happen to agree with SATS at 7 and 11. They serve two purposes:

    1. To assess what level children have reached which must be of use to the school that they then go to.

    2. To assess what the school they are leaving has actually added.

    To do the first correctly the tests must be of consistent standard and marked consistently and by doing that you also allow the second objective to be achieved.

    The teachers want to set their own tests - so there will be no consistency of standard of test and as a result no consistency of marking. Where a secondary school takes pupils from 10-15 different primary schools they will not be able to tell whether a 70% mark from one school is the same standard as a 50% mark from another.

    Of course, and very usefully for the teaching "profession", the net effect will be that parents cannot tell whether their schools is good, bad or indifferent either. According to the teaching "profession" it is unfair that league tables allow parents to assess schools because it favours the well off kids. This is patronising twaddle - since when was it acceptable to effectively say poor people do not care about their kids.

    And I have put profession in quotes because, sadly, thanks to NUT and other unions teaching is no longer the profession it should be

  • Comment number 68.

    "Are the Sats tests a good way to improve education? Do you think they pevent the teaching of a wider curriculum? Are you a teacher or a parent?What are your views on the tests?"

    Maybe if the person who started this discussion had taken part in the SATS they would not have made the silly spelling mistakes in the question! The SATS may have "PEVENTED" this! ;-)

    The education system is flawed. It always has been. When I attended school my qualifications were based on exam results and nothing to do with had learned over the years I attended school. Today the coursework has a large part to play as it is recognised that even older children get exam nerves. WHY then make younger children take tests?

  • Comment number 69.

    I would just like to point out, for those who are interested, if you research the Waldorf and Montessori methods of education - you will note that in both cases the teacher is continually assessing the child's abilities.

    Depending on how you want to approach it it would be entirely feasible for teachers to have a list of grading aspects ie. Can they do multiplication, can they tell the difference between simile and metaphor?

    I know people who have changed degrees and careers simply because mentally they cannot cope with exams. Give them any of the problems to solve or even just give them the job and they can do it no problem. Sit them down with 3 hours to make use of everything they have learnt in 6 months and they can barely complete the paper (I wonder why?)

    So which is a more useful approach? Assessing people on what they can do or on what they can produce in an exam?

  • Comment number 70.

    As an 18 year old preparing to leave secondary education for the new world of University, I can safely say that the SATs are a waste of time.

    I remember, from Year 2 onwards, being taught solely towards the SATS; my education was narrowed, and a lot of what I know today, information that will help me in the real world, I learnt in my own time through reading and outside clubs. I have done voluntary work in a class of seven year olds and I found it deeply distressing watching children whom I classed as little more than "babies" being moulded and shaped into good-little-test-subjects. And this was not an endightment of the teacher, as she is perhaps one of the most caring, compassionate, and innovative teachers I have ever had the good fortune to come across.

    Since I was seven years old I have been constantly forced to sit tests, to be trained to sit tests and to stress about tests. When I reached my GCSE's two years ago, I found I had finally met a brick wall and was unable to cope. I had simply had enough; at 16, it is very scary to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety as a result of testing, and even more scary to get to a point where you no longer care about your education. Had I not been feeling such pressure for nearly ten years, I feel I would have coped with the pressures of GCSE far more adequately.

    My parents are also techers, and I have seen them descend from absolutely adoring the important job they had to becoming disillusioned with their careers. This was to the point where my mother was also diagnosed with depression, as she found herself in a career which she no longer believed in. She was being forced to coach children of a young age on how to jump through the hoops of testing, and that was not what she signed up for when she became a teacher; she wanted to teach children skills that would go with them for the rest of their lives, skills in reading and maths, whilst also keeping their love of learning alive.

    Why do you think so few teenagers are carrying on with subjects such as science and maths once they pass the age of compulsory education? Because, to put it simply, they have been perpetually tested in it since the age of seven, and they can't be bothered with it anymore. School is about learning and lighting that fire that should come from gaining knowledge, not training our children to write like this, work this out like this, always do that so the school looks good. It puts unnecessary pressure on schools and teachers, as well as children, teachers who are good at their jobs. Why do you think the majority of teachers drop out of the profession within five years of beginning their careers?

    SATs are not good indicators of intelligence, or the development of a school. Some children are marvellously imaginative, but when it comes to SATs they are unable to perform. Some children excel at things such as history, but, again, the SATs will only show them as being failures. Good SATs results do not indicate a good school; the schools I have chosen I have chosen because of their friendly atmosphere and their pastoral care, not as a result of their SATs. A secondary near me, for example, was recently forced to take in "problem" children, as a nearby school had been classed as "failing" (thereby meaning that all of the difficult children in the area were kept away to give it a chance to improve). Since then, of course, their results have gone down. Is this anything to do with the actual standard of the school itself? No, of course it isn't.

    As someone who has experienced the testing system their whole life, and someone who has seen first hand the damage it is doing to teachers and schools (I've never seen my parents, who have always dedicated their whole lives to their teaching profession, look so dejected) I would say that something has to change.

  • Comment number 71.

    Sats are a waste of time. Bring back the 11+ and grammar schools.

  • Comment number 72.

    If the authorities require the tests to be done, they should be. If you are against them campaign to get them removed by winning your argument. Anybody who takes unilateral action and refuses to conduct the tests, should be disciplined, and if necessary sacked.

  • Comment number 73.

    At 1:35pm on 10 May 2010, Ron wrote:
    Teachers are employed by the local authority, who in turn answer to the central government. If they don’t like what is being done then take up issues by the recognised way. The last time I Looked you do what your employer tells you to do within the bounds of the law.

    It not as though the Government has a monopoly on bad ideas is it teachers? “Ba Ba Rainbow Sheep”, Banning the Word “Christmas” in favour of winter holidays, Stopping photographs of school plays because of some over zealous risk assessments that put us all down as paedophiles etc etc,

    It’s about time these teachers towed the line on a few things.



    Ron, my parents are teachers, and all they do is toe the line, trust me. Even when it goes against their own judgement, as teachers of almost 30 years, they have to do as they are told (often what they are told by people who have never spent a day teaching in their life). Even when it goes against what they think is best for a child in their care (and they look upon those children as their own), all they can do is suggest something different and then do as they are told anyway.

    All the nonsense you have written is purely tabloid journalism; I have parents who are teachers, as I have said, and I myself have done a lot of voluntary work in local classes, and I can tell you now that nothing of this kind has ever been shown or done in classes. My local school still has a Christmas play that I go and visit every year, they still celebrate Easter by teaching children the Easter story and they in no way propogate Left Wing views. Three years ago, I, as a GCSE pupil, was out and out told by a teacher that they were not allowed to teach about homosexual relationships for fear of "promoting" them. This year I, a bisexual eighteen year old female, was told off by my Head of 6th Form for making a comment about my RS teacher's openly homophobic attitude, and me and my other female classmates were banned from holding hands or linking arms in school. Hardly "liberal" in the sense that so many like to get irate about nowadays.

    The tabloids will tell you differently, but THIS is the truth about teaching and education, truth from the front line. .

  • Comment number 74.

    Yes, the boycot is good for education. Get rid of SATS. And while we're at it get rid of OFSTED too. It's not so much that either of them don't actually produce useful data...they do. The problem is that they produce it at a cost and degree of disruption that out of all proportion to its usefulness.
    To those in the private sector, I'll put it in terms they might better understand. If, for instance, you were manufacturing an item at a unit cost of £10, how would you feel about being subjected to an outside agency being forced upon you to see if you could make that item perhaps slightly better or more efficiently...but that added a further £5 to the unit cost in order to do so? Especially when you knew that your own R&D department could come up with exactly the same conclusions for a tiny fraction of the cost and without having to close down or otherwise compromise production in the process.
    Schools managed perfectly well a generation ago with annual tests and the oversight of Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Schools.

    It's quite ludicrous to maintain that the present system doesn't place an intolerable burden on pupils and teachers alike....or to complain about schools not teaching this, that or the other. If a school's very existence is dependent upon its published league table results, then teachers are going to teach to the test and nothing else. Expecting them to do otherwise...when either the quality of their intake, if not their very jobs are at stake...is asking turkeys to vote for Christmas.

  • Comment number 75.

    It is a good thing, students are overloaded and learn how to do tests to a greater degree than the subject matter of the tests and it puts too much pressure on too early, and I am a teacher, though not of a SAT subject. In short, you don't fatten a pig by constantly weighing it.

  • Comment number 76.

    I don't think that the Sats are necessarily a bad thing. I don't know exactly what kind of questions are included in Sats and it's possible that they may need to be improved. I'm a parent of a year 5 child and a year 3 child, so my children aren't doing Sats this year. I don't think the children should be made to feel under pressure either by the school or by their parents. However, it's possible for the Sats to go ahead without children feeling pressurised. My childrens' headteacher has boycotted the Sats, and I wish she hadn't boycotted them. I don't think that schools should revise for Sats for weeks on end- that would be boring. The League Tables and Ofsted Reports should take the school context into account much more. It appears that Ofsted puts a lot of weight on the year 6 Sats results, but of course, it's usually much easier to get good Sats results in a school in a middle class area, with a low proportion of children with learning difficulties, social problems and english as a second language, than a school in a deprived area with lots of social problems, a high proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and pupils with english as a second language. Ofsted doesn't seem to take much account of the context in which good Sats results or poorer Sats results are reached. Ofsted seems to put a lot of weight on the Sats results and doesn't really seem to notice exactly what's going on in the classroom. A school could have excellent Sats results due to , for instance, 75% of the pupils having private tuition and not because the teaching is necessarily good. A school with deprived pupils but excellent teachers is often graded lower by Ofsted, due to lower Sats results, than schools in middle class areas with mediocre teachers, just because the Sats results are better in the middle class area. I don't think that there is necessarily anything wrong with the Sats, but there is something wrong with the way they are interpreted by Ofsted and in the League Tables, which can be very misleading when you don't know the context in which the results were obtained.

  • Comment number 77.

    I have to say, I agree with the boycott. SATS place a huge amount of pressure on both staff and pupils, for all the wrong reasons. Teachers are under so much pressure to achieve results that will help to maintain or boost their school's league table position and funding that they will prioritise teaching to the exams, and pupils lose out on the broader education that they could have had if teachers weren't so scared of straying from the path of the National Curriculum.

  • Comment number 78.

    2. At 11:21am on 10 May 2010, Secret Civil Servant wrote:

    Of course the Heads hate the SATS. SATS are an indicator of basic levels of education. Schoolteachers are too busy filling the heads of children with leftie-liberal propaganda about Global Warming myths (now debunked by Prof Lovelock), and how terrible the western nations are towards Palestine and Africa, and how we should give these countries even more of our money rather than actually producing productive youngsters who have skills that they can put to use in our economy and make a living for themselves.

    ''''''''''''''''

    Yes, Heads hate SATs, but that's because they are the wrong way to test kids. At 10/11 years old, they are too young to be pressured through a silent, timed exam. Continuous assessment, giving a clear picture of their progress, strengths and weaknesses, is a far better approach, but then you cannot so easily spit out league tables and tick boxes to prove much with that.

  • Comment number 79.

    67. At 2:02pm on 10 May 2010, Justin150 wrote:

    I happen to agree with SATS at 7 and 11. They serve two purposes:

    1. To assess what level children have reached which must be of use to the school that they then go to."

    Secondary schools generally ignore SATs results, and either use their own tests or use teachers' reports.

    "2. To assess what the school they are leaving has actually added."

    And how do SATs achieve that?

    How do they measure what has been 'added'? All they can measure is a level of achievement on a particular day. They cannot measure progress.

    If a school is fantastic at dealing with children with learning problems, how does them getting a low result in SATs show the amazing work they are doing?

    If a school is in an area with parents who spend a lot of time helping their children or who can afford private tutors for their children, how does the school getting a good result differentiate between the gain produced by the parents/tutors and the gain produced by the teachers?

  • Comment number 80.

    No.

    This is not the way to do things - if you don't like the system you campaign to get it changed.

    How can any government function if schools refuse to conform to national decisions?

  • Comment number 81.

    15. At 12:14pm on 10 May 2010, D wrote:
    How is a parent to know how thier kids are progressing without it, or is that not important anymore, are schools about education or somewheree to stick your kids! My son can easily be looked after anywhere and i dont pay good moeny to see him stagnate, kids are sponges and we need to take this time to filltheir heads with intellect not Power rangers and the sort, and there is proof the country is getting more and more illiterate! so again what is wrong with it, because i think its essential for any childs development!


    Any good parent will know how their child is doing by:

    1. Talking to their child;
    2. Showing an interest in their child's homework and how they are handling it;
    3. Reviewing their report card; and
    4. Talking to their child's teachers.

    Numbers on a piece of paper tells a good parent nothing.
    4.

  • Comment number 82.

    SATS are a political tool allowing the Government and Schools to present a scale which bare's no relation to how pupils are really doing, it is a manufactured test so the powers that be have Statistics to roll out and schools can say how well they are doing. It reduces pupils to statistics and encourages a culture where the pupils are just numbers used to the benefit of the school spin and not students for whom the school is there to benefit them and their education which is as it should be.

  • Comment number 83.

    I would guess that teachers probably know a bit more about teaching than labour MPs do, and if they think that this issue is important enough for them to boycott the SATS then it is about time the government (whoever that will be by the end of the week) listened to them instead of imposing unworkable ideas upon the education system and then sitting back and watching standards of education slip to the extent that many school leavers can’t even fill out a job application.

    I did my A-Levels at a crammer that specialised in getting retake students into medicine, which required perfect grades. They achieved very high grades as a college ( about 75% of us got 3A’s, and 83% got at least 3 A’s – this was ten years ago when A levels still had enough value that you didn’t need to take half a dozen of them) and they did this by teaching to the exam papers. We learned how to ‘fool the examiner’ and pass any paper they threw at us, and this was achieved partly by teaching only what we needed to know to understand the questions we would be asked at exam time, and by teaching this in small groups at a very high level. I passed my exams easily with flying colours, but when I went to university I discovered that I actually had massive gaps in my knowledge, not because I’d been taught badly, but because I hadn’t been taught anything that wouldn’t come up on an exam paper. I also had no experience of doing independent research, as all the material we needed to pass exams had been spoon fed to us at A level.

    In other words, if you educate children in a way that just makes them good at exams, the information they learn may well be practically useless in further education or the real world. It is far better to learn in a less restrictive way that encourages individual study, interest in subjects and progressing at a pace that is right for the student, which makes children far more enquiring and able to apply solid study skills to learning and understanding whatever they want to do in their adult lives. There are no SATS in the real world, so why are we training children to pass them? It is no more productive than making them recite pages of Latin from memory – sure, it sharpens some skills, but what actual overall use is it?

  • Comment number 84.

    How can a head teacher refuse to do the job they are paind to do by boycotting the SATS and not be in breach of contract and so subject to termination of their employment.

    Could someone please explain what it is that I am missing?

  • Comment number 85.

    Whether right or wrong, there needs to be something that assesses a child’s progress. This has to be a standard assessment to make it comparable. It isn’t for teachers or head teachers to pick and choose what should be done, that's just anarchy.

  • Comment number 86.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 87.

    "37. At 1:10pm on 10 May 2010, chris berridge wrote:
    So it's ok to disobey rules if you don;t agree with them?

    That's a fine example to set our children!"

    It comes to a point when just saying "these things are meaningless and they should be dropped" isn't enough. Why should teachers support something that is (a) a waste of time and (b) a waste of money ? They are teaching how to pass a particular test, and that's not the same as teaching to provide an education.

  • Comment number 88.

    The formal SATs are supposed to be there to help measure a child's progress throughout their education - in itself there is nothing wrong or even new about that.
    Where the problem starts is that in year 6 the results are published in the Primary School League Tables. This is so parents can compare schools by the average SATs score, and schools are labelled 'good' or 'bad' by this measure. Yet a year 6 child may get a level 3c and this will be a good achievement for them as they may previously have been working below that level - yet by league tables this statistic will be regarded a failure as they didn't reach the 'average' level 4.
    My son is year 7 now and the measurement continues, as do the tests, he doesn't mind as it lets him know he's on target. He hated year 6 with the relentless repetition of English and Maths (no history, geography, or art for him that year!) with only science for relief (not even that now it's been dropped from the SATs). He was bright enough to know that is not what learning is about.
    Schools Ofsted reports are available for parents to read and make their choice by, they can also visit schools and get a feel for whether it is where they want their child to go. League Tables tell very little about the school - only how much they have trained the pupils to pass a test (the story the scores won't tell is what they had to sacrifice to do this).

  • Comment number 89.

    SAT's are a complete waste of time and money and are purely a "job creation" scheme concocted by New Labour

    I think that not doing SAT's and all the statistics would be a great place to start, saving money and protecting frontline teaching jobs!

    Get rid of the administrators!

  • Comment number 90.

    Is it not enough that the politicians use our children as political pawns now we have teachers and unions at it too. i have two children one in year 7,who did sats and took a common entrance exam last year, no stress encountered due to the way the teachers and we handled it. i do not believe that children need testing every year in primary but they do need testing in year 6. the problem is that the results are for the govenments benefit and not for the childs. surely the results of the tests should be forwarded to secondry school so that the child can be placed in the right class with the right teacher. my daughter spent the first couple of months at secondry school being tested again so that she could be put in the right maths group. if the results from sats and school reports had been passed on in timely fashion there would have been no need for more testing and they could have concentrated on teaching not testing. boycotting at this moment seems rather pointless as we have no govenment in place yet. maybe David Cameron would serve you teachers better after all he did promise "more power to the teachers"

  • Comment number 91.

    SATs rate the schools, not the children. That's the real reason the teachers don't like them. It shows up those schools who aren't doing their job very well.

  • Comment number 92.

    '45. At 1:24pm on 10 May 2010, philjwade wrote:
    Guess they'll be boycotting being paid for the day as well.'

    Of course. You forfeit pay by going out on strike. I don't think many non-union people are aware of that. They think it's an excuse for a day off but your pay packet suffers at the end of the month. It's self-sacrifice for the greater good. Any idea what that feels like? Probably not.

  • Comment number 93.

    "54. At 1:39pm on 10 May 2010, Lorne2 wrote:
    This is a failure to carry out a duty which they are being paid for, if this was the private sector they would be sacked.

    If they dislike the job that much, then leave and see how far you get with your bullying attitude in the real world.

    I also suspect the schools with little interest in supporting these tests will be the ones expecting the lowest score.

    Its arrogant to play politics with the lives of children, and thats all these unions are doing, it has ntohing to do with the childrens education and more to do with protecting their members, no matter how useless they are."

    On a point by point basis -

    No - they wouldn't be sacked. No private school would sack all it's staff, as the parents would then stop paying the fees

    The boycott is because they like the job. Who is the bully, when successive education ministers perpetuate these pointless tests ?

    Half the schools are boycotting - it is mathematically impossible for half the schools to get the lowest scores.

    Educators are actually making the point that the tests are of no educational value and are a waste of time and money. that seems a very responible thing to do, rather than blindly carry on wasting valuable teaching time.

  • Comment number 94.

    "
    37. At 1:10pm on 10 May 2010, chris berridge wrote:

    So it's ok to disobey rules if you don;t agree with them?

    That's a fine example to set our children!
    "

    I wonder how many people here would 'break the rules' if the BNP were elected? Lots I hope.

  • Comment number 95.

    As a parent who has seen first hand the beneficial effect that the national curriculum, SATS and open monitoring has had on the education of both of my children. It is far ahead of the morass of 'innovative' ideas I lived through in the 70s and 80s.

    I lived though the perenial complaints of the effective (and not always the most popular) teachers about the work simply not covered by teachers at lower levels.

    I have lived through completely inadequate teachers hiding within the system as there was no effective way to identify them.

    I have lived through the only way a parent could evaluate the schools in the area by how well behaved the children were on the walk home from school.

    SATs measure the performance objectively of the school and the teachers within the school - that is why the teaching unions are so against them. Teachers are not being evaluated by thier colleagues, but by open public information, which as public servants (a fact often forgotten in an emotive debate) is absolutely right and correct.

  • Comment number 96.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 97.

    I fully support the boycott of the SATS exams as i can see no viable benefit to the pupils, which obviously should be the primary concern of the education system. The whole system is flawed in so many ways that i hardly have the time to explore them all !! However to point out just a few things.
    1. Education isn't, or perhaps i should say shouldn't, be about soley making pupils learn the necessary tricks to jump through the hoops of exams be it SATS, GCSE's or any level of education. It should be about practical application of knowledge garnered over time. Skills that used to be standard practice like philosophy and critical thinking, teaching kids to question and above all THINK !! These values have been replaced with the need for kids to learn by repetition the answers necessary to make the teachers and schools look good. Pressure that is forced upon them by the Labour governments obsession with trying to quantify everything as a means of propping up its failing policies with meaningless numbers. There have been several well documented cases of comparing todays 16 year olds results with the modern exams as opposed to the old exams those who are now say 40 -50 years old took. In many cases students who today are A* actually failed the exams of old !!
    The reasons for this decline are many but chief amongst them would appear to be the level of power that teachers used to have that has been removed. WHilst i am well aware that there are those teachers that regrettably abused their power, the complete reaction to remove it to the point that it is incredibly difficult for teachers to deal with problem children is causing havoc in our classrooms. I'm not even going to begin to describe my opinion on the national curriculum. Suffice it to say that in my opinion (as someone who is still in the education system on a second degree) i wholly feel that the education system needs to be completely restructured away from these 'snap shot' results and tailored more to a method that actually involves children and their parents with an ongoing education process that instills children with the ability to think and comprehend first and foremost. These are skills that once obtained enable the pupils to apply them to any and all topics. Of course some children grasp some topics more easily than others but with the above skills all children will be much better off than under the current system. I've passed dozens of exams over the years, some well, most merely average and i like many others promptly forget what has been learned because once the exam is passed it is never re looked at. The attitude is very much one down, forget that now lets look at this. Knowledge must be used to be retained something this system fragrantly ignores.

  • Comment number 98.

    >How is a parent to know how thier kids are progressing without it
    By speaking with your child, asking what they've learnt today, posing related questions/puzzles from your own area of expertise that relate to the subject to see how wide their understanding is.

    Kinda comes as a part of being a parent !!! - if a parent "doesn't have time" to do that or other carry out their normal parenting responsibilities they'll still have to find the time in a few years but on that ocasion, more to to pick up their brat from the police station or drop them off at court or to see their parole officer et al. - best to put the time in now really.

    Relying on a bunch of lying suits who are only interested in their little power trip to tell you how your flesh and blood are doing is insane.

  • Comment number 99.

    85. At 3:17pm on 10 May 2010, PST_69 wrote:

    Whether right or wrong, there needs to be something that assesses a child’s progress"

    OK - but SATs don't do that. SATs measure a child's achievement on a particular day.

    The teachers will know the child's progress far better.

    There doesn't have to be anything that is 'national' to measure a child's achievement at age 11, especially as it actually isn't USED for anything. At least the 11+ had a purpose.

    SATs aren't used for anything other that statistics, and they are useless for generating any MEANINGFUL statistics at that.

    They are of no use to the child that took them, because at that time it is too late to do anything about it. The secondary school the child goes to will rely more on teachers' reports and their own tests. A grade is useless for a secondary school, they need to know the details to be able to help the children most effectively.

  • Comment number 100.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

 

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