Doubling in number of pupils given extra time for Sats

The number of pupils given extra time to complete Sats tests has almost doubled since 2015, according to new official figures obtained by Tes.

The figures reveal that at least 14 per cent of Year 6 pupils were given additional time to finish the tests this year, and have prompted a warning that schools are “pushing their luck”.

Experts suggest that a combination of accountability pressure to improve scores and the introduction of tougher Sats could be prompting schools to apply to give some pupils with special needs 25 per cent extra time to complete the tests.

Primary data specialist James Pembroke said: “Increased pressures of accountability may well be resulting in more and more schools pushing their luck when it comes to access arrangements.”  

Adam Boddison, chief executive of special educational needs charity Nasen, thought tougher Sats were a factor. “Sats tests have increased in difficulty and there appears to be more reading required now, which will mean that learners with SEND may require additional time when that wasn’t previously the case,” he said.  

When applying for pupils to have additional time through an online form, teachers have to answer a number of questions. In 2015 the question on reading difficulty asked: “Can the pupil read the text of practice English reading tests aloud and fluently with no/very few errors?” But since 2016, the additional clause “at a speed of 90 words per minute”, has been added.

Michael Tidd, headteacher of Medmerry Primary in West Sussex, believes this may have influenced teachers’ judgements.

“Until 2015, I think teachers had considered that slow readers who got through the text fluently were not entitled to extra time,” he said. “But from 2016, it means that slow – but otherwise competent – readers are still entitled to the extra time.

Read the full article and data Doubling in number of pupils given extra time for Sats

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