Nine Cambridgeshire schools boycott SATs

HUNDREDS of Cambridgeshire schoolchildren were not sitting SATs tests this week after their headteachers boycotted the exams. Nine of the county s primary schools took part in strike action which was arranged by the National Association of Headteachers

HUNDREDS of Cambridgeshire schoolchildren were not sitting SATs tests this week after their headteachers boycotted the exams.

Nine of the county's primary schools took part in 'strike action' which was arranged by the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

Four schools in Huntingdonshire joined the protest: Newton Primary School in Eltisley, Ashbeach School, Ramsey St Mary's, Alconbury Primary School and Holme Primary School.

None of the four headteachers would comment on why their schools were boycotting the exams.

David Senior, whose daughter attends Alconbury School, said: "I believe the school is very brave and I completely agree with their decision not to stage SATs. I think to pigeon hole children when they are just 10 or 11 is wrong. The tests put the children under too much pressure."

The unions said the aim was to put pressure on Government to abolish the Key Stage 2 tests for 10 and 11-year-olds.

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The unions claimed about half of the country's primary schools boycotted the SATs - a statistic not reflected in Cambridgeshire.

Hilary Bucky, NUT regional secretary for the Eastern region, described the exams as "not needed and not accurate".

She told The Hunts Post: "We have been campaigning against SATs for a very long time. Key Stage Two maths and English are the only ones remaining as the others have been scrapped.

"We think they are damaging to children because they put them under a lot of stress and pressure.

"They are also not an accurate way of evaluating children and only provide a snapshot of their progress.

"Furthermore, as the results are used for league tables, schools focus on working hard to do well in these, while other areas of the curriculum are squeezed out."

Chris Harrison, vice president of the NAHT said he wanted more "appropriate assessment" of children by their teachers, similar to that found in Key Stage One.

He added: "Virtually everyone in the country has said enough is enough for SATs."

Children at Crosshall Junior School did sit their SATs this week and headteacher Julia Elliott explained why.

"It has been a difficult decision and one that was taken after lengthy discussions with governors and teachers. None of us feel that school league tables support school improvement and more emphasis should be placed on teacher assessment of children.

"We use a range of ways to gauge pupil attainment and SATs testing is just one. Teacher assessment is still the most important measure of a child's attainment.

"Our children have a very positive attitude towards all aspects of school life and do not feel anxious about this week of tests. Crosshall Junior School, like all schools I know, has a strong ethos of support based firmly on the development of the whole child."

INFORMATION: Should the SATS be scrapped? Do they put too much pressure on your child or are they good preparation for GCSEs? E-mail your views to editor@huntspost.co.uk

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