‘SATs undermine children’s self confidence’, Leeds headteacher warns

Simon Benn running confidence-boosting sessions for  Year 6 pupils at Five Lanes Primary School in Wortley ahead of the SATs. Picture Tony Johnson
Simon Benn running confidence-boosting sessions for Year 6 pupils at Five Lanes Primary School in Wortley ahead of the SATs. Picture Tony Johnson
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a Leeds headteacher has warned that pupils’ self-confidence is being drastically undermined as controversial SATs test results were published yesterday

National figures released by the Department for Education showed that 40 per cent of pupils in England failed to meet the Government’s expected standard in reading, writing and maths.

Headteacher Jo Fiddes.

Headteacher Jo Fiddes.

However, 61 per cent managed to hit the target, up from 53 per cent in 2016.

But Jo Fiddes, headteacher at Five Lanes Primary School, in Wortley, which ran confidence-boosting sessions for pupils ahead of this year’s tests, said she agreed with with teaching union leaders, who say results should be “taken with a pinch of salt”.

She said: “The end of the SATs process means that all children, aged 11, will be given a score. Some children will have worked hard and have a positive result, others will have worked equally hard but will face disappointment. Being judged in this way will have no bearing on their future learning, but may impact negatively on their sense of self-worth.

“The nature of these tests and the weight put upon them by the school inspection regime has resulted in the narrowing of the school curriculum. This is inevitable when this methodology underpins the measurement of school performance. A score is not a true reflection of a child’s worth.”

This year’s cohort was the second to sit new tougher tests in line with a new national curriculum introduced in 2014. Last year, the percentage of Leeds primary school leavers making the grade fell to 58 per cent from 78 per cent in 2015. The results are used by the Government to measure primary schools’ success, in league tables. Mrs Fiddes, who praised her pupils for doing well this year, which meant “Ofsted will stay away”, added: “The Government changes the pass mark every year depending on what message it wants to send out.”

Thousands of teenagers will collect their long-awaited A-level results today.

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