Sidmouth schools rejects Sats exams boycott

PUBLISHED: 13:01 16 May 2010 | UPDATED: 13:59 18 June 2010

PUPILS in the Sid Valley have taken controversial Sats exams despite a boycott by hundreds of schools in England. The results of the tests are used to make up primary school league tables and many head teachers say they are unfair on both the pupil and th

PUPILS in the Sid Valley have taken controversial Sats exams despite a boycott by hundreds of schools in England.

The results of the tests are used to make up primary school league tables and many head teachers say they are unfair on both the pupil and the school.

Action was called by the National Association of Head Teachers and the National Union of Teachers to boycott the exams for 11-year-olds.

However schools within the Sidmouth area, including St Nicholas, Sidmouth Infants, Sidbury and Newton Poppleford, decided against the boycott.

Paul Walker, head teacher of St Nick's and Sidbury Primary schools, said he put the children's wishes first.

Mr Walker, who is also chairman of the Devon Association of Primary Heads, told the Herald: "The reason I chose to go ahead with the exams is that action was called very late and the children in both schools had built up to do the tests.

"Next year if they are still around it might be different."

He added: "I think the issue of Sats and test reform is absolutely right and I think we should be looking at changing the system for testing. Tests were changed for Years 2 and 9 a couple of years ago.

"I think the system is not a good one. The fact the test results are used in a narrow way and put in league tables is something I don't agree with and as they are a basis for Ofsted inspections it's a narrow starting point."

He said that confidence in the marking of Sats was low following the marking fiasco in 2008 which saw over one million children receive their results late.

Christine Channon, Devon's cabinet member for schools and skills, said: "I am in favour of abandoning SATs and having internal testing.

"At the moment, children can be taught to the tests, as opposed to being educated and learning the core subjects."

But she added that the timing of the action was "very unfortunate".


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