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Poll shows 97pc of primary school teachers want SATs scrapped

PUBLISHED: 09:18 09 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:32 09 July 2019

Primary school teachers have come out overwhelmingly in support of scrapping key stage two SATs in a ballot by the National Education Union. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Primary school teachers have come out overwhelmingly in support of scrapping key stage two SATs in a ballot by the National Education Union. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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A staggering 97pc of primary school teachers support scrapping "high-stakes" SATS tests for 10 and 11-year-olds.

The National Education Union (NEU) polled more than 54,000 of its primary members last month, with the vast majority coming out in support of a "sensible alternative" to the tests which are said to be damaging children's health and restricting their learning.

It coincides with the release of provisional key stage 2 SATs results for pupils who sat the exams in reading, maths and spelling, punctuation and grammar in May.

Nationally, the proportion of children reaching expected standards in reading fell from 75pc in 2018 to 73pc, the proportion in maths rose from 75pc to 79pc, and the proportion in spelling, punctuation and grammar was static at 78pc.

The proportion of pupils who reached expected standards in reading, writing and maths was 65pc, up from 64pc in 2018.

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The NEU's ballot also asked teachers whether they would support industrial action over SATs reform - but the results of this question have not yet been released.

Kevin Courtney, NEU joint general secretary, said: "The NEU's indicative ballot of primary school members shows there is resounding support for a change to primary assessment.

"Government now needs to listen, and to accept the need to change a culture in which too many classrooms are dominated by teaching to the test, at the expense of the learning and wellbeing of our children."

A poll of primary school teachers by the NEU in July 2018 revealed the damaging impact the tests could have on children's health.

Of the 1,200 teachers who responded some 88pc said they felt SATs did not benefit pupils' learning and 86pc said preparing for SATs squeezed out other parts of the curriculum such as the arts.

Teachers said pupils could be put into "highly anxious states" by the tests, with reports of children having nightmares, making themselves ill with worry and even refusing the come to school.

In response to last month's ballot, schools minister Nick Gibb said SATs had been pivotal in raising standards in primary schools and that abolishing them would be a backwards step.

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