Education director announces SATs standard reset

Boy writing in a notepad doing his school work spelling or homework

Essex County Council has decided the base level standards for SATs will be decided after this academic year. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The base level standards at which primary schools are measured are being reset because of the length of time children were out of classrooms due to the pandemic.

The director of education at Essex County Council has announced improvements in the national SATs (Standard Assessment Tests) will not be gauged until after this academic year. 

Clare Kershaw said the impact of Covid has meant the council is rebasing SATs levels from this academic year and then set targets after the end of the 2021/2022 academic year.

All Year 2 and Year 6 students will be required to sit the exams once again in May 2022 to evaluate academic progress in reading, maths and English.

Speaking at the council's people and families policy and scrutiny committee on Thursday (September 9), Ms Kershaw said: “We are expecting everything to return to normal this year.

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“We are going to rebase from this academic year because we haven’t got any validated data, bar 2019."

The announcements comes amid an extra £1million for reading over the next 18 months, to support children and young people affected by the loss of learning and missed opportunities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Essex Education Task Force’s aim is to ensure that every Essex child leaves school able to read at their age level or better.

Essex County Councillor Aidan McGurran

Essex County Councillor Aidan McGurran - Credit: Essex County Council

Cllr Aidan McGurran (Lab, Pitsea) said the council was being overly ambitious and measurements in improvements should be at the core of its strategy rather than actual milestones.

He said: “I am concerned that we may be setting up ourselves to fail.

“Setting standards is great but to say that all pupils will be at the national reading standard or above just strikes to me as a little unrealistic.

“I am not an educationalist but it occurs to me that if it was that easy we would all be doing it and surely the aspirations should be about improvement."

Ms Kershaw added: “We are trying to get a process through taskforce where we prioritize reading all the way through the education system and it being as equally valued in primaries as secondaries."

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