SATs are tests undertaken by young pupils in primary school, as part of the national curriculum. As of recently, the national union of teachers have expressed a strong appeal on the detrimental effects these tests are having on pupils, who are only around eleven years of age. The idea of segregating children based on their ability is seen as simply unfair; due to the fact they are arguably still kids and are slowly grasping onto their own learning pathway. The tests have even been remarked as “the monster stalking our schools”, which emphasises how the tests act as a huge burden not only on the student but also the teacher, who is more than familiar with the effects it is having on their pupils. A recent conference at the National Union of Teachers supported a proposal to boycott sats, with a debate expected the following Monday.
A former teacher from Lancaster, Ms Collingwood, has had a first-hand experience on the effect these tests have had on her pupils with many even crying, due to an increase in hardness of the test which led to 47% on pupils failing. The emotional effect is simply unacceptable and high stress levels especially at such a young age can easily be linked to mental illnesses such as depression later on in life. She personally believed that the National Union of Teachers needed “to bring down the whole stinking edifice”, of the sats. Jessica Edwards, who believes sats need to be abolished, commented that; “sats in our schools is damaging to children and their education, damaging to the self-esteem and mental health and all the things that they need to succeed as they go through their education”. Further on she mentioned, “we all know that last year’s tests were the worst they ever had”… “They saw huge numbers of our children not ‘failing’ as they were labelled but being failed by the assessments that they undertook”.
The government has taken thought into scrapping sats but if any action is undertaken it won’t be until 2020, leaving the miserable burden on-going for over 3 years. The Department for Education believes that tests should not cause stress upon pupils but it is important that parents are aware if their children are leaving primary school with adequate scores in English and maths. To clarify the uncertainty a spokeswomen from the Department for Education addressed that; “We want a long-term, stable and proportionate system for primary assessment that measures the progress that children make throughout their time at primary school fairly and accurately, one that recognises teachers' professionalism in assessing their pupils and which does not impose a disproportionate burden”. She also commented, "We have worked with the teaching profession on how best to establish this and we are currently consulting on a number of proposals."
The National Union of Teacher’s secretary, Kevin Courtney claimed that teachers had marked the system as ‘broken’ and have only been waiting until the time it ended. "Primary education should be a time in children's lives when they develop a love of learning, not a fear and dread of failure. He then commented; "Drilling within a narrow set of disciplines and expectations is taking the joy out of learning and much of it is of questionable educational value”…"Children are being put under unnecessary stress and teachers' workload is heavily impacted upon”. Whilst it is important to consolidate a pupil’s knowledge through tests it is just as important the mental well-being of the child is not put under enormous amount of pressure especially at such a very young age.