Children are More Than A Score

More Than A Score is here to change the way children are assessed and schools are judged.

Primary school children in England are let down by a system that cares more about measurement than education. It’s damaging, and they deserve better.

We want pupils to enjoy an exciting learning experience and then move on to secondary school with a love of learning. We don’t want them spending months cramming for government tests. We believe schools should be judged on the overall quality of education they provide, not the results of a narrow set of standardised tests.

Our campaign supports school leaders and teachers who want to stimulate young minds and expand their knowledge and creative problem-solving skills, rather than having to “teach to the test”.

Add your voice to the campaign to change the system for the better.

Did you know?

From September 2021, children face formal government tests in five out of the seven primary school years:

Reception:      Reception Baseline Assessment – tests in English and maths within the first few weeks of starting school
Year 1:             Summer term Phonics Screening Check
Year 2:            Autumn term Phonics Screening Check. Summer term Key Stage 1 SATs English and maths
Year 4:            Summer term Multiplication Tables Check
Year 6:            Summer term Key Stage 2 SATs papers in English and maths, taken under exam conditions.

To find out more about what tests your children will face, visit our Parents’ Guide.

SATs don't work

The current system of standardised tests (SATs) for year 6 pupils makes no sense. Designed to measure schools’ performance and improve their position on the government league table, it’s certainly not working out that way.

Children are under pressure to do well and teachers waste months of learning time “teaching to the test” across a narrow curriculum of just two subjects.

Year 6 should be a time for children to expand their knowledge and discover a love of learning; yet now they find themselves facing high-pressure Key Stage 2 SATs papers in English and maths, taken under exam conditions. These are stressful for both teachers and pupils and do nothing to benefit children’s learning.

Schools should not be judged on the performance of 10- and 11-year-olds and young children should not have to shoulder the burden of high-stakes tests.

Click here to download and share our leaflet which explains what you really need to know about SATs.

Testing four-year-olds makes no sense

Starting school is an exciting step forward for all 4-year-olds and should be a time of fun, new friends and the first steps on a learning journey. But now, these young children will also face tests in English and maths within the first few weeks of term.

These screen-based maths and English tests are roundly condemned by teaching professionals as a time-wasting tick-box exercise whose only purpose is to judge schools against each other. In fact, the British Educational Research Association states that it’s impossible to get reliable data from testing four-year-olds, least of all within six weeks of starting school.

If you agree that it’s madness to make small children who have just started school take tests, please sign our petition.

The phonics check is nonsense

At the age of five, reading should be opening up a whole new world of discovery. Instead, Year 1 pupils spend their time learning ‘nonsense’ words in preparation for the phonics check.

Described by the government as a ‘light-touch’ assessment, recent research has revealed that the test causes children stress and confuses good young readers.

We believe learning to read is far too important to put such pressure on young children, as well as their teachers. The only purpose of these ludicrous test results is to judge schools, which are then expected to achieve a higher pass mark year after year.

Say no to the times tables test

Knowing their times tables introduces children to the exciting world of numbers, patterns and problem-solving techniques. It’s a pathway to understanding maths. But a standardised government times tables test for year 4 children is an unnecessary and unfair burden on pupils and teachers.

No one doubts that a quick recall of tables helps children to solve more complicated mathematical problems; however, schools already teach and assess times tables – this new test doesn’t tell school professionals anything they don’t already know about a child’s mathematical ability.

Add your voice to the More Than A Score coalition of teachers, headteachers, governors, parents and education experts in our call to scrap this unhelpful, time-wasting test.

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