Monday 25 July 2016

Headteacher: We must act together to make sure SATs pain does not happen again

This plea from a primary headteacher appeared on Facebook about 12 hours ago and has received much attention. The Green Party has a long-standing policy in favour of the abolition of SATs and opposition has strengthened amongst parent groups and teachers.  
I am a primary head teacher and have taught in primary schools for the past 26 years. I started teaching when SATs were first introduced and have never thought they were a good idea but this year has been a disaster from start to finish. Before I explain why that is I want to apologise. I want to say sorry to my staff and my children. I am sorry that I didn’t act sooner, that I wasn’t brave enough to stand up at the start of the year and say no. We all knew it was going to be bad but I really couldn’t have imagined it would be this bad.

The year has been chaotic from start to finish. The testing regime being just one part of that. From the Key Stage 1 SPAG test published on line for several months without the DfE noticing, to the terrible Year 6 tests which have left nearly half of our Year 6 pupils being told they are not good enough.

So to those young people moving on to secondary school I say to you well done for working hard and trying your best. Your school and your teachers have not failed you – this government has.

Over the past few days I have heard some terrible stories – head teachers sent home and told not to return, Year 6 teachers blamed for the results and told they can no longer teach in Year 6 – these are people’s lives, people’s livelihoods – teachers went in to the profession to make a difference – we have a system set on destroying them.

To my staff and my children – again I am sorry – you are amazing – each and every one of you – you are individual, you are unique and no child should ever have to be tested on a standardised test because you are not standard. No teacher should be made to feel they have failed when all they have done is work as hard as they can - often too hard to implement something which shouldn’t have been implemented.

So now a request to all of you – parents, teachers, head teachers, school staff. If you agree that these tests are wrong and should go. If you really believe as I have heard many of you say that this year must be the last year that we put our children through this then please do not allow the 6 week holiday to numb your pain. Please remember what this has done to our schools and our children and please do something – write to anyone and everyone, put pressure on politicians and let us all together build a campaign to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Our children should leave primary school confident learners who are looking forward to secondary school, keen to learn and develop their skills but also people who have respect and understanding for those around them and who will grow in to well-grounded young people who can contribute positively to our society.

I for one cannot do this again I hope others join me to say enough is enough. Our children deserve so much more.

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