Pupils protest against Sats

PUPILS from an Essex school have launched an anti-Sats campaign, saying that the constant testing is ruining their education.

James Hore

PUPILS from an Essex school have launched an anti-Sats campaign, saying that the constant testing is ruining their education.

The youngsters from Broomgrove Junior School in Wivenhoe said teachers were cancelling other lessons such as art and computer technology and replacing them with revision sessions to try to hit the Government targets.

Their claims come as MPs warned the national school tests should be scrapped.

Broomgrove pupils Lola Prout and Derryn Cowling are asking both the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Schools Secretary Ed Balls to re-think policy.

Lola, 11, said: “We are just revising for targets to get the points which are then published as league tables in the newspapers and used by the parents to find out which are good schools, but the results do not make the school bad.

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“Some years there may be weaker children in some subjects, it is as simple as that.”

The Wivenhoe youngster, who took her science Sat yesterday, said teachers were backing the campaign.

“Everyone has their own views on them but most people do not like them - the tests themselves are okay to do but we have a lot of extra homework - we are getting four pieces of homework per week in maths instead of one.

“We are missing all our fun lessons to do revision - we are missing artwork and ICT as well, just having the odd lessons.”

A Commons schools select committee yesterday condemned the “widespread” practice of teachers drilling pupils to pass their tests and called for Standard Assessment Tests (Sats) to be radically cut back.

The MPs also demanded an inquiry into “grade inflation” amid concerns that test results may exaggerate the true standards of education that children reach.

And the committee warned that the Government's planned reforms, which will see pupils tested more often instead of at fixed ages, risk causing even more damage to education.

The damning report came as 1.2 million 11 and 14-year-olds across England take their Sats in maths, English and science.

A Panorama investigation last night examined the Government's proposed reform of the system with “single level tests” that are being piloted across the UK including Mersea Island School.

Its headteacher Sue Shenton warned of the harm the tests may do if the rest of the system remains unchanged.

“If the target-setting agenda, the pressure to achieve constantly higher every year, is applied to the single level testing system, what you're doing is spreading the pressure down through the school down to year three who are only aged seven.

“What I would really like is the people, I suppose in government, to start listening to the professionals on the ground, which they do not do,” she said.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls has proposed changes to the testing system, with a pilot project under way in more than 400 schools.

Instead of assessing children with National Curriculum Sats at the fixed ages of 11 and 14, the pilot scheme tests pupils when their teachers think they are ready.

Ministers believe this could encourage schools to help pupils make faster progress and ease pressure on pupils.