DEBATE: Is Corbyn right that Statutory Assessment Tests (Sats) should be scrapped in primary schools?
Is Corbyn right that Statutory Assessment Tests (Sats) should be scrapped in primary schools?
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, says YES.
In a YouGov survey of primary school leaders last month, 93 per cent agreed that English and maths are prioritised to the detriment of other subjects, such as music, art, drama, and science. Also, 95 per cent agreed that pupils spend too much time preparing for Sats, and 98 per cent that Sats encourage some teachers to “teach to the test”.
Many of the children who previously enjoyed school now detest education. In its incompetence, the government is willingly and knowingly making children hate learning with a passion, rather than harbouring an environment of lifelong learning. The government has closed its ears to these messages.
After the intervention of the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats – which have broken the political silence over the way we test our children – opposition will grow, and a future beyond the current system will become imaginable. The National Education Union is entirely committed to bringing a new assessment system, one that supports learners, into being.
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Nick Gibb, Conservative MP and minister for schools, says NO.
Sats have been part of school life since the 1990s. They have been pivotal in raising standards in our primary schools. That’s why Labour governments led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown supported them.
These tests should not be a source of stress for pupils. They should be treated like any other test. We trust teachers to administer them in an appropriate way, which the vast majority of schools do.
Abolishing these tests would be a terrible, retrograde step. It would enormously damage our education system, and undo decades of improvement in children’s reading and maths. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to abolish Sats, parents would have no way of knowing how well their children’s school teaches reading, writing and maths. Under Labour, they would simply give up on ensuring that all our children can read and write by the age of 11.
This is yet another reason why a Labour government led by Corbyn would be so disastrous for our country.