Parents back Leeds headteacher’s criticism of SATS

Headteacher of Five Lanes Primary, Jo Fiddes.
Headteacher of Five Lanes Primary, Jo Fiddes.
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Hundreds of parents have backed the comments of a Leeds primary school headteacher who criticised SATS after witnessing pupils bursting into tears in the middle of the tests last week.

Jo Fiddes, from Five Lanes Primary, in Wortley, labelled the controversial exams for 10 and 11-year-olds as “cruel” and an “unnecessary pressure”.

She told the Yorkshire Evening Post last week: “I have had children burst into tears in the middle of an exam. It’s heartbreaking. What has happened to having a childhood?

“Some of the questions are quite difficult and if there are two or three in a row that pupils can’t get, you can see their shoulders slump and heads go down and they feel like they have failed.

“We have had pupils who couldn’t get to sleep worrying about their maths test at the age of 11. It’s ridiculous.”

The story was shared on the Evening Post’s Facebook page more than 300 times and attracted almost 600 likes.

Praising Mrs Fiddes for having the courage to speak out about the issue, readers across the city shared their views, with many calling for the exams to be scrapped.

Caroline Hill said: “It’s time schools boycotted SATS. There’s too much pressure on children these days. It’s the same with older children, they are stressed beyond their years and cannot cope.”

Chris Burdon added: “When my son was finding his SATS stressful I told him that it wasn’t to test him, it was to see if the school is doing well. I told him that if he didn’t do well it is because the school and the education system was failing him. These ridiculous cruel tests should be scrapped at the earliest opportunity.”

And Katrina Burnell wrote: “I agree with her, in fact I’d like to shake her hand for having an honest opinion.

“We need more headteachers like her who aren’t afraid of being the voice for the children.”