Primary school Sats are necessary to show that taxpayer money is being well spent, Ofqual chair says
Friday, May 10, 2019
Roger Taylor said that the assessments are necessary so that the public can be “confident” that the education system is fir for purpose.
Currently children take Sats at the end of their final year of primary school, while the tests for seven-year-olds are being phased out in favour of “baseline assessments” for children at the end of Reception.
“I do not think it is possible to deliver a high-performing primary education system, paid for by taxpayers, where citizens can be confident that the money is being well used to deliver good quality education for all young people, without assessing the performance of those schools and that does mean assessing the abilities of the children,” he told the Times Education Supplement magazine.
“I can’t see how we would have a high-performing education system and not have some mechanism to do that.” Mr Taylor said that his views were personal, adding that the Ofqual, the exams watchdog, “does not get involved” in politics.
His comments come after the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced that if elected, he would scrap Sats because primary school children are “unique” and should not have to go through "extreme pressure testing".
Mr Corbyn said that children should be “encouraged to be creative” and allowed to “let their imagination roam” rather than be subjected to the "unnecessary pressure of national exams".
A Labour government would replace Sats with an alternative form of assessment that would take into account “the learning needs of each child”, which parents and teachers would be consulted on before it was designed.
Ministers have said that axing Sats would cause “enormous damage” to education and undo decades of improvement in children’s numeracy and literacy.
A Labour spokesperson said: “It is vital that parents have confidence in our school system, but that is often not the case under the current assessment and accountability system.
“Labour will ensure that the performance of schools and children are assessed in a way that is more reliable, while avoiding teaching to the test and encouraging all schools to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum.”
Source: The Telegraph