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To think SATS are all about league tables

(30 Posts)
TheoriginalLEM Sat 26-Mar-16 11:34:12

I am hoping that someone can convince me IABU but im not sure.

DD has brought home from school a stack of revision for her year 6 SATS. I can't help but think WTAF!

I was always lead to believe that SATS were meant to be an indication of where your child is at and used to help place them in the appropriate groups for learning, especially as they go on to secondary school.

She has brought home "10 for 10 days" so that is ten minutes a day for ten days of the easter break. Fine, except there are four of these so that is actually 40 minutes a day then. We did our first set yesterday and already i have a dillema - DD is severely dyslexic and will be allocated extra time in the "exam" (which she is already fretting about) so does that mean i need to force her to do more time on these sheets? I set a timer for 10 minutes each and told her only to do more if she wanted to. She did for the first one - lets see where we are on day 10!

Having read through her work i felt sad because whilst her imagination and comprehension etc was spot on (amazing even) it was practically illegible and i could only really read it with her help and because im used to how she writes, as i would hope her teachers are - but her teachers wont be marking it will they.

I feel the whole of year six has been coaching for these bloody tests, most of the homework has been in the form of test papers or that style of work. Learning about things that I am pretty damned sure have been dreamed up in Nicky Morgan''s head.

I can't shake the feeling that these tests are not about my child. That they are about jumping through the hoops set by ofsted and the government and making the school look good. Whilst a good sound grounding in education is being missed my child is being taught how to sit exams. All well and good, she will be examined for the next 10 years at least but it is all very well being able to sit an exam, when she get out into the real world she is going to be able to APPLY and DO, not just remember and brain vomit it onto a sheet of paper or complete a multiple choice exam.

I know i am going to have days when she wont want to complete her homework but i will have to cajole her into it, all the while feeling that this is not good practice at all. Now don't get me wrong, its easier for me than having to do the dreaded "project" and easier for the teachers to set and mark i daresay. I feel skeptical about the whole thing - can someone please persuade me that i will be actually helping my child by standing over her with a stopwatch for 40 minutes a day, well more actually because theres the faff and the cajoling...........

TheoriginalLEM Sat 26-Mar-16 11:37:50

* was always lead to believe that SATS were meant to be an indication of where your child is at and used to help place them in the appropriate groups for learning, especially as they go on to secondary school.*

In all my waffle I missed my own point - surely coaching for these tests doesn't actually give a true impression of ability, this should be based on just where they are at? What they have learnt without having to cram revise it - i can tell you that I have forgotten everything that i crammed for my degree finals, i left with a high 2:1 honours degree but please don't ask me anything about metabolic pathways because i don't remember!

KittyandTeal Sat 26-Mar-16 11:41:20

I've not read the whole post, mainly because I don't need to to be able to say YANBU.

I'm a primary teacher and yes, sats are about league tables. Most secondaries retest to stream in Y7 as they know how much coaching goes into sats and therefore don't give accurate results of independent learning.

Sorry your Dd is having a bit of a shit waster with so much to do.

HumphreyCobblers Sat 26-Mar-16 11:44:18

I wouldn't make her do it, or only one ten minute sheet a day if this feels too radical.

I am a primary teacher too, not working at the moment. I agree with Kitty.

flumperoo Sat 26-Mar-16 11:44:30

Yes, SATS are about league tables.

thecatfromjapan Sat 26-Mar-16 11:45:37


I have thought this for a long time.

I'm now taking a PGCE and our tutors keep telling us/begging us NOT to teach for the SATs. Teaching for learning is NOT the same as teaching for the SATs.

But what do you do? The SATs results feed I to the league tables - and, despite all claims to the contrary, Ofsted judgments.

You can see why teachers are pressured to do it.

It's madness.sad

TheoriginalLEM Sat 26-Mar-16 11:52:10

Thank you. I thought it was just me! It boils my piss to be honest, then the school will make a big deal and pat themselves on the back for improving their SATs score when actually it makes me question at what price?

I will support her to do the homework simpy because i don't want her to feel rubbish when she goes back to school but only as much as she wants to do it. We had a conversation about it this morning and she says that she doesn't want to do it over "easter" as that is for relaxing, she's a smart cookie my DD grin

I refused the kent test mostly because of her dyslexia. She is tutored but to help her with her reading not to pass some stupid test that in the grand scheme of things means bugger all.

noblegiraffe Sat 26-Mar-16 11:56:49

Well from next year it won't all be about the league tables, children who 'fail' will be forced to resit in December of Y7. Then parents wI'll be under even more pressure because who wants their child to go through that as well as the transition to secondary?

mummymeister Sat 26-Mar-16 11:57:16

SATS are just an appalling waste of everyones time. a good teacher already knows what level pupils are that they teach. that is their job after all.

they aren't just about league tables. they are about not trusting highly educated, highly intelligent professionals to do their jobs.

govts micro manage teaching yet other professions get away with corruption on a grand scale because they believe in "light touch"

I couldn't have cared less what grades my kids got because I asked their teachers about strengths and weaknesses. The amount of stress they cause kids is monstrous in my opinion.

Babyroobs Sat 26-Mar-16 12:00:16

YANBU. My 10 yr old dd is constantly bringing home these sats revision papers every night. For the Easter hols starting from next tues through to saturday( yes saturday !!) she is enrolled to go on a maths and english sats booster days at the secondary school she will be going to. These days are 9-3, so just like a full week of school for her . The second week of her school hols, her primary school have drop in sessions where the year 6 kids can go and revise with their friends from 9-3. The schools really seem to be pushing them so hard this year compared to when my ds's did them a few years back. I am not pushing my dd to attend all these extra sessions as I would prefer her to have a break over Easter, but she wants to do them.

HemanOrSheRa Sat 26-Mar-16 12:06:00

YANBU. SATs have completely sucked the joy out of DS's last year of primary school. He is completely bored out of his mind. They are really learning anything, no projects to grip his imagination. It's a complete load of bollocks. The upside to this though, is he cannot wait to start secondary school in September!

TeenAndTween Sat 26-Mar-16 12:07:47

My DD is also y6 and has quite a lot of homework.

I'm in two minds about it.

Encouraging DD to read questions properly and be accurate is a skills she needs to get so some practice on it is no bad thing.

The intensive focus on maths should have a positive benefit for her as she is weak on a lot of the basics.

But - I don't like the complicated grammar. For her at least it is not going to stick, (or even go in at al)l. Also I don't believe it is going to be built on in y7 so I really do think it is wasted time for her (though maybe not for other more able children).

I do hope they keep up with maths and English after SATs as the benefits will be lost if they end up doping hardly any for the 3 months between SATs and secondary.

noblegiraffe Sat 26-Mar-16 12:09:44

It sounds like some of these primary kids will be revising more over Easter than my Y12s who should be preparing for their AS levels.

Noodledoodledoo Sat 26-Mar-16 12:14:09

Sadly I think you will find most teachers agree, however they are about league tables and also the Yr 6 teachers pay progression will be based on (if they are anything like mine) ridiculous targets from the students.

Teachers went out on strike about things like this - they did strike about Performance related pay, but can't about government changes to education policy, but on the whole got very little support from the public.

I am not primary but from what I have read this years tests are tough so I have every sympathy. My attitude would be to encourage her to do as much as she wants, but don't add to her pressure.

TheoriginalLEM Sat 26-Mar-16 12:16:25

TeenandTween - coudln't agree more. I am highly qualified (not that it means much tbh) yet i look at the grammar homework wiht a confused shock and hmm faces in equal measure. What about imagination and creativity? Actual thought? logic? Err no - so long as you can point out the "determinants" and "clauses" in a sentence. FFS!!! I'm getting more and more livid the more i think about it. DD on the other hand is busy creating an easter egg hunt in minecraft grin

BabyGanoush Sat 26-Mar-16 12:19:41


But many parents are going along with it.

We have thrown exam papers in recycling bin and given DS a letter for school saying we were ON HOLIDAY and therefore unable to do homework over the holidays.

He works really hard at school and always does his homework. We don't need this silly pressure.

TheoriginalLEM Sat 26-Mar-16 12:19:47

What saddens me though is that here is no allowance for disabilities such as dyslexia in these tests. Yes she can read them (thanks to her tutor! The school are too busy coaching for sats) but her writing and spelling means that whoever marks them wont be able to read them. Setting her up to fail before she even starts.
yes she will get extra time but that really wont help.

Does anyone know if she could have a scribe?

TheoriginalLEM Sat 26-Mar-16 12:23:30

Good for you Baby!!! I am so tempted to do this but DD is a stickler for the rules and would get upset.

derxa Sat 26-Mar-16 12:32:40

Your DD should have access to a scribe. Why doesn't she?

TheoriginalLEM Sat 26-Mar-16 12:40:30

She does have some access during class but only when the TA is available. She is officially diagnosed and as such will have extra time but it is clear to me now that extra time will mean jack shit to her, am going to go and talk to the school about this as soon as they go back. I probably should have done this before but its been such a battle to get her dyslexia recognised etc we have pretty much given up on the school and relied on her tutor and stuff at home.

She wrote an amazing description of a character, i was gobsmacked it was so good - but only when she read it out to me as i couldn't read her writing or decipher her spelling.

But then I am sat here typing that the SATS matter not one fuck so why should i pressure her further by pushing her to do well in them, if that makes sense?

icklekid Sat 26-Mar-16 12:43:14

lem does your daughter have provision for a scribe day to day in school? Otherwise not sure she will be allowed it. I'm dyslexic and at secondary got to type my exams as this was my usual method in class.

As a primary school teacher I wish we didn't have to prep children for sats- it's the balance between giving them the best possible chance to achieve (practising and understanding style of questions etc) and not getting them stressed about it. I HATE with a passion that 6 year olds are being tested on grammar that means nothing to them and would much rather encourage them to learn to write with creativity and flair. I wouldn't mind if these new curriculum assessments started for current year 3 who will have 4 years of new curriculum and a chance of achieving however not current year 6 who have only had a year and the bar has jumped up unbelievably 😕

TeenAndTween Sat 26-Mar-16 12:46:44

OP. SATs do matter as official 'targets' for GCSEs are set from them (at least currently). So if she underachieves in her SATs, secondary will expect less from her.

It won't matter if the secondary is good and on the ball, but it is easy for a child to slip through the net if they are meeting expectations based on (too low)incoming SATs, even if actually they are under achieving.

FairyDustDreamer Sat 26-Mar-16 12:48:41

Schools are so different in their approaches.
No home work for holiday here. A 'good', inclusive school but not high flier in league tables...
During term just been having usual once a week homework which we are told should take half an hour at most.
I know other schools around us behaving differently and maybe potential parents will see them as better schools... [I know a lot do. I disagree].

exLtEveDallas Sat 26-Mar-16 12:51:07

DD has come home with an inch thick file of 'revision' papers for the holidays.

Thankfully her teacher (and school) is sensible and have said "Do as much or as little as you [parents] think they need.

I've told DD no more than 30 mins a day, unless she is bored and wants to do more. I've also told her that I don't care how she does in SATS - as long as she does her best it doesn't matter what 'score' she gets. We try to have a bit of fun with it and I let her teach me all the new things she has learnt. She times me on tests and scores me (very harshly I must say) - it helps that my maths is atrocious and I've actually enjoyed having her explain stuff to me smile

I hate all this 'teach to the test' bollocks. DD isn't enjoying school anywhere near as much as she did before Xmas. I'll be very glad when it's all over.

derxa Sat 26-Mar-16 12:56:59

What saddens me though is that here is no allowance for disabilities such as dyslexia in these tests. There is actually but the assessment and application is sent in months before the test. Assessment of everybody's writing is done over the year by the class teacher.

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