Leeds headteacher praised on Facebook after reportedly calling SATs exams 'useless'

A Leeds headteacher has received praise from parents on Facebook after he allegedly wrote a message to year six pupils calling this week’s SATs “useless exams”.

By Joanna Wardill
Monday, 9th May 2022, 12:09 pm

A post on Facebook page ‘Mum in the Moment’ shares a message attributed to Chris Dyson, headteacher at Parklands Primary School, in Seacroft, which calls the exams “useless” and tells year six pupils that this week “does not shape your future one little bit”.

The post has attracted over 1,000 likes and shares with comments including “fabulous words” and “what an amazing headteacher”.

The letter in full reads: “Dear Y6 children, whatever happens during SATs week does not shape your future one little bit.

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Head teacher Chris Dyson at Parklands Primary School in Seacroft. Picture: Tony Johnson

“Just try your best, smile and look forward to climbing a tree, playing football, singing, dancing, cooking or reading when you get home.

“After all the disruption you have had over the past three years, my heart goes out to you sitting these useless exams.

“Sadly the Government say you have to do them so we have no choice.

“We can, as teachers, head teachers, be there for you if you feel anxious - so talking is good.

“Chris Dyson, head teacher, Parklands Primary School, Leeds.”

SATS (Standard Assessment Tests) measure children’s educational achievement in years two and six and are also used to hold schools to account for their pupils’ attainment and progress.

This is the first time primary school exams have been held since 2019, having been cancelled over the past two years due to Covid-19 disruption.

The Government said this is why they took the decision to have a full programme of primary assessments this year - to “provide vital information to parents about their child’s attainment, support the transition to secondary schools and identify where additional support is best target to individuals".

Earlier this month, a teaching union president hit out at the Government’s decision to continue with key stage two SATs despite Covid “trauma”.

According to Tes magazine (formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement), Daniel Kebede, in his speech at the NEU teaching union’s annual conference, said going ahead with SATs this year was an “utterly brutal decision”.

And parents commenting on Facebook to Mr Dyson’s letter appear to agree.

Karen Shackleton wrote: “They are useless, my daughter got GCSE targets as F due to her SATs - yet this week we attended her Masters degree graduation” - a comment which has attracted 22 likes.

Yvette Williams wrote: “Amazing…couldn’t agree more.. We should celebrate each child’s achievements whatever they are and stop making them feel bad when they don’t make the SATs grades. Let’s raise happy, healthy children.”

Kelly Dawn added: “Fantastic words and unbelievably (& heartbreakingly) true.”

The Yorkshire Evening Post has approached Mr Dyson for a comment.