A parents guide to primary testing A parents guide to primary testing

Year 6: Key Stage 2 SATs

What are they?

Pupils in year 6 spend a week in May sitting high-pressure tests in English and maths. These tests are taken under strict exam conditions. Many schools spend months beforehand focusing on these subjects meaning children can miss out on history, music, drama, art or a range of learning experiences, drastically narrowing the curriculum.

When the SATs results are announced in July, pupils are told if they have ‘reached the expected standard’. For the last few years over one-third of pupils have been told that they have failed to meet expectations.

The government uses the results of KS2 SATs to judge schools. Some secondary schools also use SATs results to set targets for GCSEs, sometimes in a range of subjects not just English and maths.

Many secondary schools don’t assess pupils solely by their year 6 SATs results. Instead, they use other ability tests to stream or set them. This is because they do not always trust the SATs results.

It’s absurd that schools are measured on the basis of a narrow set of tests taken by children under exam conditions. And branding children as failures just before they start secondary school risks turning them off learning altogether.

What do the experts say

What do the experts say?

Headteachers and primary school leaders believe SATs and the current assessment system should be changed:

96% have concerns about the pressure of SATs on the well-being of pupils

98% think teachers are put under unnecessary pressure because of SATs

93% think SATs lead to a narrowed curriculum

76% believe that SAT results are an inaccurate way of predicting a pupil’s future performance at secondary school

71% agree that SATs should not be used to set pupils in secondary

93% believe that the government should review the current system of standardised assessment

What can I do

Try the SATS papers

Try the SATs papers for yourself and see how well you do under the same pressurised exam conditions faced by year 6 pupils.

Talk to your head

Talk to your head about your concerns. Share this leaflet which includes questions you can discuss with your head.

Order our pledge

Ask your head to sign the More Than A Score Pledge which puts children’s overall education ahead of standardised testing.

Share this leaflet

Share this leaflet - What you need to know about SATs - with your friends and other parents in your child’s class.

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