Primary school exam stress is exacerbated by teachers who are ‘manufacturing anxiety’, says Ofsted

Amanda Spielman has raised concerns that teachers are “encouraging children to feel anxious” about tests, warning that they are only a source of concern when “people make it so.” The Telegraph reports.

Her intervention comes as the watchdog today publishes its new inspection framework, which seeks to build resilience in young people and aims to crack down on schools that “game” the system and use “off-rolling” – the practice of excluding disruptive pupils to improve results.

Ms Spielman said on Monday: “Good primary schools manage to run key stage tests often with children not even knowing that they’re being tested.

“I was in a primary school not very long ago, I saw something that did actually concern me where the head was going around patting the Year 6s on the shoulder saying, ‘are you feeling okay about the tests, is everything going well for you?’ I thought that’s actually subliminally encouraging children to feel anxious. “

“When you talk to some of the Oxbridge admissions tutors, for example, they say they know the difference between which schools are exam factories, which are very good at manufacturing grades but young people are arriving at university with very little of the intellectual development,” added Ms Spielman.

She said: “We absolutely want to make sure that the inspection conversation helps us to discriminate between schools that are getting exams results the right way and one thats are taking shortcuts.”

Read more about the new framework Primary school exam stress is exacerbated by teachers who are ‘manufacturing anxiety’, says Ofsted

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