Key Stage One SATs: Government to scrap testing for seven-year-olds to 'free up teachers'

Francesca Gillett
SATs tests for seven-year-olds are set to be axed under plans welcomed by unions: PA

The Government is set to axe SATs tests for seven-year-olds in England in a bid to “free up teachers”.

The national curriculum tests, taken by children in year two, will be replaced by pupils being assessed by teachers when they start infant school at the age of four and five.

It is hoped the move will help to “reduce the burden” on teachers and pupils, the Department for Education said.

One union leader said the plans to end the Key Stage One testing was “good news” and give schools more time to focus on teaching rather than “high-stakes assessment”.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said: "The Government has reformed the primary school system to make sure children can master the basics of literacy and numeracy so they get the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in later life.

Education secretary Justine Greening (Getty Images)

"Now we want to build on that by developing a stable assessment system that helps children learn, while freeing up teachers to do what they do best - supporting children to fulfil their potential."

Under the plans, the tests - known as SATs - in reading, writing, maths and science, which are taken by more than half a million youngsters each year, will no longer be statutory.

The proposed new baseline assessment will take place at some point during a child's reception year, but pupils should not know that they are being tested, the DfE said.

The results will be used as a marker of children's abilities at the start of their schooling and be used to measure the progress youngsters have made by age 11, at the end of primary school.

It means that schools will be held to account for the progress that children make throughout their primary school career.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: "The possibility of ending Key Stage 1 SATs is good news.

"This creates the time and space in a pupil's primary years for teachers to focus on teaching rather than on high-stakes assessment.

"It will properly reward early intervention and it will reduce workload. Overall, minimising the number of high-stakes tests is the right way to go.

"This will help every school to deliver a rich educational experience for all children."

Reporting by Press Association.

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