Assessment For Children is a group of schools putting children first in the government’s regime of of high-stakes, standardised assessment.
They have created a Charter which commits schools to minimising the pressure on children, particularly in the run-up to year 6 SATs. The Charter was drafted following consultation with assessment consultants, LA officers, headteachers and educational consultants as well as teachers’ and headteachers’ unions.
Participating schools agree to:
- always prioritise children’s personal growth, long-term development and engagement as learners and their well-being over SATs test scores
- ensure breadth and balance to the curriculum in every year group and not narrow the broad, balanced and creative curriculum offer in Year 6 or 2, and reference the work pupils produce against suitable other benchmarks (e.g. work from pupils in other schools)
- to ensure that the school is secure in its teacher assessment judgements
- not run any additional SATs booster classes, holiday clubs or other such provision that would indicate that the SATs tests have any broader significance than being simply a tool to aid teacher assessment
- prepare the children emotionally for SATs with minimal test practice, recognise the way in which SATs test are used as predictor for GCSE results and ensure that the pupils leaving the school leave with results that are a true representation of their skills and knowledge
- ensure that children are prepared as fully as possible for life beyond primary school and encourage positive learning attitudes and a growth mindset as essential character skills for the future
Jon LeFevre, head of Pilgrims Cross CE Primary School in Andover is the driving force behind the Charter. He has already secured agreement from a number of schools to sign the Charter.
He says, “Headteachers are in this job for the right reasons but people have expressed their feeling that the accountability system is making schools act in a way that prioritises the SATs outcomes and maybe not in the best interests of the children.
“Teachers feel that their data plays a big role in determining their Ofsted inspection. If this was different, these immoral practices might stop.
“The problem is that many heads will feel that because everyone is doing it, I have to do it. Some schools are doing so much work to boost their SATs scores they daren’t stop doing any of it because they don’t know what is making a difference.”
A copy of the Charter is available here. For more information, Jon LeFevre can be contacted at JLeFevre@pilgrimscross.co.uk