Heads call on ministers to cancel Sats exams in 2022 amid Covid-19 disruption

·2-min read

School leaders have voted to call on ministers to cancel Sats exams next year amid ongoing disruption to education amid the pandemic.

Holding “ridiculous” and “pointless” statutory tests in 2022 would be “unfair” due to Covid-19 absences, head teachers told the annual conference of the NAHT school leaders’ union.

Delegates heard from a number of school leaders before passing a motion calling on the national executive to lobby the Government to abandon all statutory tests in primary schools in 2022.

Michelle Sheehy, head of Millfield Primary School in Walsall, said: “Our current Year Six children all had hugely different experiences during the previous school year and the differences continue today.”

She added: “If data from the Sats is being used to compare schools it is desperately unfair. The Sats quite simply are not fit to be used for accountability purposes.

“If, as the minister for schools said ‘this is their only purpose’, then why would we be wasting time administering costly and pointless tests?”

Speaking at the union’s conference in London on Saturday, Ms Sheehy said: “How many of our schools have been unaffected by Covid-19 this term? Very few I would think.”

It comes after Sats exams for Year 6 pupils, which are used to compare schools’ performance, were cancelled for a second year in a row this summer.

The Government intends to run statutory exams in summer 2022.

Emily Proffitt, head of Cooper Perry Primary School near Stafford, told the conference: “In Stafford at the moment, we see the highest levels of Covid-19 reoccurring across the country and all of our schools are back into full measures that we saw pre-September.

“How on earth can all children be expected to be put through these ridiculous assessments and milestones when we are back to the measures that we saw last year? Sats have to be reviewed this year.”

She added: “It’s not effective, it is not right for our children and we need to look at this seriously.”

Keith Wright, a delegate at the conference, added: “My children have been in, out, in, out, sometimes shaken all about with high temperatures.

“They haven’t quite done the Hokey Cokey but I tell you what if we turn it around, because that’s what it is all about, we don’t need the Sats.”

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