Responding to a survey of over 1,200 primary teachers, carried out in June and July, nine-in-ten primary school teachers said the SATs-based primary assessment system is detrimental to children’s well-being and nearly nine-in-ten (88%) said they do not benefit children’s learning. The NEU reports
One teacher said: “Pupils at our school have cried, had nightmares and have changed in behaviour due to the pressure on them – and we do our best to shield them from it and not make a huge issue out of the tests.”
Another commented: “We see children in highly anxious states, sometimes vomiting because of pressure. More children displaying signs of poor mental health and we do not put pressure on our children.”
Teachers slated the SATs-based system for lowering the quality of primary education. One teacher said the SATs: “are the biggest barrier that we have to high quality and relevant learning.”
Teachers regard the SATs in year 6 as a barrier to learning that limit pupils’ access to a full curriculum, with 86% saying preparation for SATs squeeze out other parts of the curriculum.
Teachers reported that some groups of children are particularly severely affected by preparing for the tests. Eighty-eight per cent said children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are particularly disadvantaged, 66% said pupils whose first language is not English (English as an additional language – EAL) and 54% said children who are born in the summer so are the youngest in their class.
Teachers’ comments include: “It is painful watching these most vulnerable children being made to feel less than the great human beings they are because they are aware that these activities don’t help them to shine.”
Read findings more about the teachers survey SATs do not benefit children’s learning and are bad for their well-being – NEU survey
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