Sheffield education union leaders call for ban on this week’s SATS

Sheffield National Education Union leaders have slammed SATs exams that are taking place until this Thursday throughout Sheffield primary schools.

This Monday, thousands of year 6s across 135 Sheffield primary schools sat down to take the internal exams.

SATs exams are formal national exams that primary school children take at the end of Key Stage two (KS2). They act as an indicator of the educational progress the child has achieved so far. The exams are taken in a range of core subjects such as English grammar, reading comprehension, spelling and mathematics.

Many parents, students and teachers alike have mixed opinions on the exams. They are historically controversial as an immense amount of pressure is placed on the children at a very young age and arguably are not really used for any specific purpose. A study from 2017 found that cases of stress, anxiety and panic attacks had increased in more than three-quarters of primary schools due to the exam.

Toby Mallinson, Joint Branch Secretary for the National Education Union in Sheffield, is one of the people that has called for the end of the SATs.

He said: “Firstly, these are not exams. They are tests that measure a child’s ability to retain information which is entirely without educational value.

“They are not for the child. They are for the school to be measured by. It is entirely inappropriate for the better part of a vital year of education to be completely disrupted in such a way. The tests are damaging, pointless and cause immense unnecessary stress to children and staff.”

Simon Murch, Joint Branch and District Secretary for the National Education Union posted a message to students via his twitter: “Teachers across the country wish you the best during SATs. We know the tests can’t and don’t reflect what wonderful learners and young people you are. It’s time we ended SATs for good.”

Sadie Frances, 19, a first year Politics and Sociology student, said: “I think it’s cruel to stress kids out at such a young age and have them believe a number or a grade is the be all and end all.

“I think that’s why so many students become burned out by the time they’re at university. It affects children’s mental development.”

Written by Lisa Bradley

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