Wednesday 17 April 2019 2:44 AM UTC
LONDON April 17: A pledge by Jeremy Corbyn to scrap SATs in primary schools was met with a standing ovation by cheering teachers yesterday – but triggered a furious backlash amid warnings it would send education standards plummeting.
The Labour leader’s announcement, made during the National Education Union’s (NEU) conference in Liverpool, promised to abolish the ‘regime of extreme pressure testing’ if he wins the next election, claiming SATs give pupils ‘nightmares’ and harms their mental health.
While it was met with celebratory chants of Mr Corbyn’s name during a standing ovation, outside the conference the policy was branded ‘terrible and retrograde’ that would allow failing schools to hide.
SATs are taken by children aged 11, before they leave primary school, in numeracy and literacy skills including spelling. The tests date back to 1991 and the results, which are published by the Department for Education, allow the Government and parents to see which schools are underperforming – encouraging them to raise standards.
SATs were implemented under John Major and continued under New Labour. Although the format has been tinkered with frequently, they have always been hated by Left-wing teaching unions, which have led several campaigns to have them abolished or boycotted.
Under the Tories, the tests for 11-year-olds were made much tougher two years ago in a bid to raise standards in numeracy and literacy. Teachers complain that it means other subjects get squeezed out of the curriculum.
Primary schoolchildren undertake national tests and teacher assessments in English, maths and science at the end of Year 2 when aged six to seven, and national tests and teacher assessments in English and maths and teacher assessments in science at the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6), aged 10 to 11.
Last year the Government announced that Key Stage 1 Sats would be replaced with a new baseline assessment in reception beginning in 2020. Daily Mail
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