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Head teacher bans SATs

(65 Posts)
Feenie Thu 18-May-17 22:01:31

Good for her. They'll sack her, of course, but she's retiring anyway,I believe. What a way to go - at least she's protected one cohort of Y6s.

elevenclips Thu 18-May-17 22:08:58

I can half see this and half not.

I have a dc who's just done sats.

We have to do things in life that we don't want to do and things that are stressful. I think that 10/11 is probably old enough to understand this.

I have tried to see it as an introduction to sitting public exams, which is unfortunately necessary if you want any GCSEs or A Levels.

My dc had present/meal out to mark the end and to say well done. I don't really care about the results, it's more the fact it's done.

But good on the head teacher who wasn't willing to do stuff that she considered bad for the students she takes care of.

On the other hand, she's being paid by the state and the state require SATS.

Feenie Thu 18-May-17 22:14:20

My ds has also just done SATs. There were tears sad

This particular head asked parents and governors before she did this, and has their full support. She's retiring anyway, she doesn't care if she's sacked.

TeenAndTween Fri 19-May-17 13:05:43

I think that's a daft way to make a stand.

Just teach the children properly, do a couple of practice papers so they know what they are facing, and let them do the tests.

DD2 (y7) is a low achiever and got on fine with SATs week because she had been sensibly prepared. No over the top stress. She felt really proud of herself for doing them and they were a good transition step towards secondary.

nat73 Fri 19-May-17 13:07:35

There is too much kerfuffle about SATs. Don't make a big deal, support your child and go for it. All this boycotting crap. What are we teaching our children? If you don't want to do stuff you don't have to??

Edna1969 Fri 19-May-17 13:11:02

I think there is a huge difference with KS1 SATs and KS2. DD1 has now done both. Was OK with KS1, KS2 no so much and we had stress and tears. She is a high achiever. I think assessments are needed I just don't like this formula. They are sat in May so there is time to mark them and produce all those lovely stats that DofE want.

Witchend Fri 19-May-17 13:41:15

I think we make too much of SATS.

We did exams through juniors twice a year. They weren't a big deal. We got form positions and top got a prize and most improved got a prize.
Other than that they were forgotten about.
It wasn't a big issue.

I think in some ways that they're only tested (big test) in year 2 and 6 makes them seem more important as if they muck up then they haven't got another chance to prove themselves.

I think too that my dd1 and dd2 would have been disappointed not to sit SATS at this point. They'd been prepared and were ready to do them. To be told that the head had decided they weren't doing them would have added to their stress.

At any rate a number of secondary schools will then test them on arrival, which may mean that their pupils are less prepared and have less practice than the others, putting them at a disadvantage.

Hassled Fri 19-May-17 13:45:31

I'm on the fence - yes, way too much is made of SATs and the stress and pressure they put on young kids is insane.

But I'm old enough to remember when they were introduced - my oldest DC was in one of the earliest cohorts - and then they were very much sold to the public as a test of the schools, rather than of the pupils. It was a way of measuring that the schools were teaching the right things in the right way, and that standards were as they should be. And I do still think there is a need for that.

Edna1969 Fri 19-May-17 13:50:13

The language undermines the idea that it has nothing to do with the children. After all these tests sort children into those who are secondary ready and those who aren't. Both have to move on but guess how good the second group feel about that.

irvineoneohone Fri 19-May-17 13:59:50

Hope they haven't done any preps and HT told them they are not doing it from start of yr6. I think the stress is more to do with preps and not really to do with actual test itself.

CloudPerson Fri 19-May-17 14:03:06

SATs are very different to the tests and exams I did at school.
For a start, the pressure on children now is immense. SATs pressure on my son (now home ed and yr 7 equivalent) started in year 5, straight after SATs were finished for the year above.

It was explained to me by his teacher that it was impossible to simply teach well throughout the year, because there were so many specifics that wouldn't be included in a normal year 6 education, and because how well (or not) the cohort perform then reflects on the teacher's wage, so the pressure is not only on the children but on the teachers as well.

SATs represented the beginning of some sort of breakdown for my son. We asked for him to be withdrawn from SATs due to autism and high anxiety levels, the HT refused, in a "well he lives in the real world, he just has to get on with it" way. He opened his SATs papers and was too anxious to complete any. He failed spectacularly and couldn't work independently from that point.

The U.K. isn't exactly topping global charts for school performance. There's been a lot of info out there recently about schooling in Finland, where they have very little homework and no tests until the pupils are older, and a focus on child led learning and children being happy, rather than all this mental-health-problem inducing pressure which is producing lots of unhappy children who aren't reaching their potentials.

I hope more teachers follow suit. Education shouldn't be in the hands of the government at all, particularly not one focused on elitism and results above children's health.

Eolian Fri 19-May-17 14:10:04

It was a way of measuring that the schools were teaching the right things in the right way, and that standards were as they should be. And I do still think there is a need for that.

I don't think many people would say the current SATS are a good test of whether primary schools are 'teaching the right things in the right way'. Who on earth wants primary schools to spend half of year 6 cramming for a test (some of which is on stuff that's completely forgotten about the minute they've finished it)?

This constant holding schools to account over every micro-level of progress in every child has to stop. It just makes everyone teach cynically to the tests and manipulate data in fear of being unfairly judged. And there is no proof whatsoever that children actually learn more because of it.

nat73 Fri 19-May-17 14:16:26

Arrggg not the Finland argument. If you dig a bit deeper you will find there is alot more to Finland's success other than no exams til 16, no homework and not starting school til they are 7.
Finland have heavily invested in Education, getting to be a teacher is really hard - you have to be top student and get a Masters. In the UK getting into B.Ed requires relatively low grades. Teachers have a lot of autonomy (they have picked the top graduates so they expect them to think for themselves). They have a very strong socialist system - high tax & high benefits so the income band is relatively narrow. High percentage of well educated and working women. Most children at some stage get extra help and are considered special ed and the most effort is put in before they are 7/10 years old so everyone starts on an equal footing.
Comparing us to Finland is worst than comparing chalk and cheese. You cant only address the exams, homework and starting age and hope the results will be like Finland's...

Eolian Fri 19-May-17 14:23:08

We don't have to be exactly like Finland in order to consider adopting some of its practices though. Giving teachers more autonomy would be a good start. I'm not sure teachers should only be trusted to do their job if they have a masters as well as their degree and PGCE hmm. In any case, it's not only about expecting Finland's results. If you implemented their policies on teacher autonomy, homework and testing alone, you'd at least have happier staff and pupils even if the results showed no improvement at all!

CloudPerson Fri 19-May-17 14:40:31

Nat, I know that, but I'd have to write a thesis to address all of that!
The uk education system isn't exactly selling itself well at the moment, and something has to change. Maybe it's just a symptom of society, but any change must be better for our children and their mental health.

Eolian Fri 19-May-17 14:49:05

It would be pretty silly to ignore the possible benefits of adopting some of Finland's educational policies just because some aspects of our socio-economic system mean that the results might not be identical to theirs. For example lots of people are in favour of banning written homework (at least up to year 10). I fail to see how our lower taxes or fewer well-educated women would make any difference to being able to do that. Benefits in terms of exam scores are not by any means the only kind we should be looking for. Reduced marking time means more time and energy available for planning great lessons, which means better learning. Homework should just be to look over the work you did that day.

mrz Fri 19-May-17 19:13:47

Perhaps having only 25% of pupils meeting expectations influenced her decision

Feenie Fri 19-May-17 19:48:07

Maybe it did. But she examined her conscience and found that she just couldn't put her children through it one more time.

Feenie Fri 19-May-17 19:54:16

A poll today shows that 78% people voting agree with her.

PippaFawcett Fri 19-May-17 19:55:51

I will have no problem will my DC sitting SATs when the time comes, being under pressure is a part of life and I think exams should be seen as a chance to showcase what you have learnt. However, I confess that I say that as someone who doesn't know if the papers are accessible to all children and if expectations are adjusted accordingly.

it is a shame that the schools feel they have to teach to the test so much. It would be better if a couple of weeks of revision took place before the test, they sat the test and job done.

Feenie Fri 19-May-17 19:59:11

However, I confess that I say that as someone who doesn't know if the papers are accessible to all children and if expectations are adjusted accordingly.

That would-be no and no.

Last year 47% of children failed to meet expectations.

Moussemoose Fri 19-May-17 20:02:32

Yeah being under pressure is part of life. Bloody whining 10 year olds and their ' wanting a childhood' nonsense. Why can't they just get a job? 11 is old enough to realise the family needs money. Being under pressure is part of life so we should send them down that pit.

Just cos I know fuck all about it doesn't mean I am wrong. I went to school, I have an opinion.


mrz Fri 19-May-17 20:08:30

Out of interest Feenie did you have any crying children at your school? We didn't but the year we boycotted SATs we had upset disappointed pupils. Totally expected we thought they'd be pleased.

Feenie Fri 19-May-17 20:19:46

No, but I think we handle it better and give the right support - our learning mentor does some excellent PSHCE sessions around them.

One of my dn's school has yoga.

Ds's school has no such support and he was very upset after Wednesday's. His teacher assessments will all be at expected but he is nervous in tests generally. I think that has a lot o do with being only bloody 11.

admission Fri 19-May-17 20:28:30

For the nth year in succession we have as a school handled the SATs without any issues with any of the pupils sitting them. The only people getting stressed are some of the parents.
The action of this head teacher is unacceptable as she is setting a very bad example for the pupils in her school - don't like something so we ignore it . If I was the chair of governors at the school then either the tests would have been done or she would be being disciplined for unprofessional conduct. There is no middle ground, she is the lead professional in the school and should be setting the example.

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