SATS in Milton Keynes

12 May 2010, 06:00

It's now the third day of a national boycott of SATS by some Milton Keynes primary schools.

According to MK Council, 20 out of the 62 local schools who teach Key Stage 2 pupils have decided not to hold the tests.

Two teachers unions - the NUT and the NAHT - have organised the boycott because they say the tests put too much pressure on teachers and pupils, and that the results create league tables which are misleading.

Tony Draper - who's the headteacher at Water Hall Primary School and the local representative for the NAHT - told Heart:

"When the SATS results go in to the Department for Education then league tables are produced from that, and schools basically stand or fall by one weeks worth of testing, from four years of education."

He thinks schools and students should be measured in a different way:

"We're not against testing, but we want testing to be use appropriately to support teacher assessment and then we can give a really good, clear picture of exactly where every child is for the parents, for the secondary schools and so the children don't leave primary schools with grades that are not where they are."

But not everyone is in favour of the boycott. We spoke to this Mum at a school in Milton Keynes, which is doing the tests:

"It's the children's education that's being messed up. It's their futures that you've got to think about and I think they should be sat.

"I'm glad that the school's decided to do it. It's very important for them. They need the education for later in life. I'm glad I did all of my exams during schools years, and I'm proud of what I've done."

Milton Keynes Council says all parents should have been informed if their child's school is boycotting the tests and should have been given reassurance by the school that this should not affect pupil progress.

In a statement they told us:

The decision not to administer the end of Key Stage 2 tests this week has been taken at individual school level as part of national industrial action.  

The local authority sees the assessment of pupil progress as an integral part of improving outcomes for children and young people and believes that the end of Key Stage 2 assessment process is a key milestone in the transition to secondary school.  

Local Authority officers will be working with all schools in the borough who have decided not to take part in the tests to guarantee consistency across schools and ensure pupil progress is not affected as a result of the alternative teacher assessments that will be utilised to show children’s progress. 

The local authority will continue with its planned process of monitoring the implementation of the Key Stage 2 tests as part of its statutory duty where they are going ahead as planned. 

The governing bodies of schools that decided not to hold the tests are responsible for addressing the action taken in their schools. The local authority has passed on advice from the Local Government Employers Association to help governors respond to issues that arise from the action.

Buckinghamshire County Council says 12 out of 185 schools have told them they're not doing the tests.