SATs are not fit for purpose and are damaging for children’s education

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Press release
04 July 2017 by ATL Media Office
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), comments on today's key stage 2 SATs results.

She said: “Today’s results reflect that children and education professionals have worked extremely hard to get to grips with these new look SATs. But SATs continue to have a negative impact on children’s education and the exams are not fit for purpose. Preparing for SATs takes up too much class time with schools focusing on getting children through the tests. It means children spend too much time practising tests and they miss out on other subjects.

“Having a good knowledge and understanding of English and maths is important for all children. But the assessment of writing is not fit for purpose, and has undermined the teaching of writing in many primary schools, as well as causing significant workload for teachers. We call on the Government to urgently reform this aspect of the assessment system.

“The Government must ensure that the data from these tests is not used to unfairly penalise schools and teachers. The SATs are too narrow and too high stakes to function as a fair measure for whole school performance. SATs are at the centre of a toxic accountability system that is driving teachers and leaders out of the profession.”


Note to editors:

  • The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 170,000 teachers, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent nurseries, schools, sixth form, further and higher education colleges and universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • ATL exists to help members, as their careers develop, through first rate research, advice, information and legal advice, and to work with government and employers to defend its members’ pay, conditions and career development.
  • ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). ATL is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.
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