This week primary children aged 10 and 11 take their SATs and a report published on the same day showed a range of symptoms of anxiety raised significantly for those pupils. These included
- not eating breakfast
- skipping other meals
- sleep disturbance
- behaviour difficulties
It is quite shocking that children as young as ten admit to smoking as a result of pressure from SATs. These tests are of no importance to the child. No pupils has ever been asked for their SATs levels later in life and most secondary schools ignore them and re-test as they are so falsely inflated. When they were first introduced, people said that schools would ignore the pressure and teach as they always had and the SATs were merely one week of formality. The reality is that children are closely monitored from Year 1 for their levels, labelled, put into ability groups, given booster lessons, sat for large chunks of their primary education at a table with children of the same ‘ability’ knowing that triangle group is the bottom group and the will never reach the dizzy heights of circle group. Now this threatens to come down into the Early Years, where baseline tests will be reported to the government and data used to judge the performance of a school and a teacher. These tests are of no use to the teacher or parent in assessing children and moving them on.
This is why the following professional associations have opposed it:
The NUT, The Pre-school Learning Alliance, Association for Professional Development in Early Years (TACTYC), Save Childhood Movement (SCM), Early Childhood Forum, National Association for Primary Education (NAPE), Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), Early Childhood Action, National Day Nurseries Association , British Association for Early Childhood Education (Early Education) The ATL, The Charter for Primary Education plus many academics, psychologists and others.
We have been campaigning across the country. Parents are horrified that the testing bug will infect the good practice in Early Years. We advise people to hold public events and widen the support for this campaign.