SATs tests slammed by Axe Valley headteachers

PUBLISHED: 15:03 10 May 2010 | UPDATED: 01:13 16 June 2010

PRIMARY school headteachers from across the Axe Valley have slammed SATs tests – claiming they blight children s learning .

PRIMARY school headteachers from across the Axe Valley have slammed SATs tests - claiming they 'blight children's learning'.

The Axe Valley Learning Community argues there are better ways to assess the 11-year-olds' development.

Alan Simpson, group chairman and headteacher at Seaton Primary School, said in a statement the tests were an unfair political tool.

He said: "They are unfair because they deem schools to have failed where results are poor, but take no account of the schools' pupil intake.

"Those judged 'best' are often in middle class areas, not poorer inner cities with higher levels of children having English as an additional language, poor housing and low incomes.

"Despite this, individual results for these children can be outstanding.

"SATs results do not reflect this and the outcome is often a demoralisation of teachers, schools and neighbourhoods."

His comments come following Education Secretary Ed Balls' recent letter to schools - saying they must be accountable to the public and their local communities.

He asserts this is only possible with SATs tests.

Mr Simpson believes frequent and direct communication with parents through reports, open evenings and one-to-one meetings ensure parents and carers are kept fully informed.

He said the SATs exams would go ahead across the Axe Valley this year - despite strikes elsewhere - but that secondary schools continue to do their own assessments, as they cannot rely on SATs.

He added the tests made it impossible for teachers to follow new guiding principles of the National Curriculum, which states from 2011 it must be 'broad and balanced' - to promote pupils' spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development.

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