Growing numbers of private schools are scrapping “crude” Sats tests amid claims they damage children’s education, it has emerged. Less than a fifth of independent preparatory schools now voluntarily stage exams in the three-Rs for 11-year-olds – half the number in the late-90s. This is from the Telegraph…
David Hanson, chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools, said the tests – compulsory in the state sector – were increasingly seen as a “minority sport” among private headmasters.
He also criticised the “obsession” with literacy and numeracy in state schools, claiming that a national drive to improve standards in the basics was actually damaging pupils’ education, particularly among boys.
The comments come amid continuing concerns over Sats tests in reading, writing and mathematics taken by around 600,000 children at the end of primary education.
Teaching unions have called for the exams to be scrapped altogether amid claims schools are forced to “drill” pupils to climb official Government league tables.
Three years ago, a science exam was axed and in 2011 ministers agreed to shelve the writing test because of concerns over inconsistent marking.
In its place, the Government is now proposing to introduce a new toughened up literacy test, covering spelling, punctuation, grammar, handwriting and vocabulary.
But Mr Hanson said many fee-paying schools had already decided to ditch the exams because of concerns they narrow the curriculum and present a misleading picture of pupil standards.
Speaking before IAPS’s annual conference in Manchester next week, he said: “We are opposed to league tables – we think they are counterproductive and corrosive – and the vast majority of our schools don’t do Sats test.
“We don’t do the tests because we think they’re unhelpful, they’re crude and there are far more useful assessment tools to track pupils’ progress. It is a now a minority sport for our schools.”
Sats are compulsory in around 17,000 state primary schools in England but remain voluntary in the private sector.