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SATS exams at primary schools - are they compulsory?

(5 Posts)
vanimal Tue 20-Sep-11 12:49:36

I have been looking at primary schools for DD1, for next September, and have come across a school I really like.

I have just been online to check how pupils did on their SATs exams, and the school is listed as not having participated in SATs last year.

I thought these were compulsory? I tried to call the school this morning to ask more, but noone was answering.

I am very clueless about this whole schools business!

izzy1020 Tue 20-Sep-11 13:12:51

Some schools botcotted them last year with support of their union. Don't think any did this year though.

startail Tue 20-Sep-11 13:21:24

Some schools boycotted the SATs last year and either didn't do them or didn't send in the results.
A lot of teachers don't like SATs and league tables, too many reasons to go into here.
Also small schools with 10 or less Y6 don't report because you can make a jolly good guess at individual students results.
SATs are pretty useless for all single form entry schools unless you have several years figures because on small group deciding to work or mess about can totally skew the results despite the teachers best efforts.

3duracellbunnies Tue 20-Sep-11 13:23:40

Quite a few schools boycotted them as they don't always reflect the school if just taken at face value. For example if it is a one intake class (30 students), when you put the achievement in terms of a percent achieving a certain standard it might not be a clear reflection of the school's teaching. Each child contribute just over 3percent. In our school they always take 2-3 children with special needs. Doing so enriches the school, for example all children learn sign language, those with disabilities get the largest cheer at sports day, and it teaches the children early on that we are all different but can all contribute. Having said that they may not achieve as academically as much as some other children. A quick glance at the figures may place the school lower although many children are achieving high marks. A better measure is the value added, which looks at the difference between that year group at yr2 and at yr6, so in theory shows how much the school has contributed to their progress; however even with this there are issues. At our state school quite a few children move to prep schools at yr3; they may have achieved well at yr 2 but then the children coming into the school may be at a lower level, so even if they do well they may not attain the level the original children would, or vice versa.

As you can see it is a complicated business, you could look back at previous years to see if there are other results, but the best thing to do is go and visit all the schools, ring now as they will be booking visits for prospective parents. Also ask around at local toddler groups, parents are usually quite happy to say what their school is like. Once you have narrowed it down a bit, and assuming you don't have to submit forms before Christmas, find out when their christmas fairs are and go along and see all the children and families, see how well behaved they are in the que for FC etc. Don't forget that even if you really love a little (/r big) school lots of other parents might too. In my dd1 year the catchment was 0:3 miles and half of that is woodland! Do put down a reserve school which you have a good chance of getting in, I would rather go to a local not such high achieving school than a school a few miles away which is even worse

good luck with it all and remember that places do come up when people move if you really want to move them later on.

vanimal Tue 20-Sep-11 14:18:11

Thank you! the school have singlle-from entry, but are doubling it this year. SATs for 2009 show 93% achieving about level 4 for English, Maths and Science, so I am pretty pleased with that.

I spoke with the headmaster this morning, and he was lovely - very open and honest about the school, but I hadn't seen the missing SATs results then, so didn't ask about them. I will give them another call and find out.

I know it's a bit excessive, but I wouldn't want to send her to somewhere that doesn't do SATs in case it would intefere with her ability to get into a good secondary school.

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