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Bosses say using SATs as part of Ofsted’s judgment on curriculum ‘makes no sense’

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The DfE said it would publish league tables for KS4 GCSE results in secondary schools (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

Principals have criticized Ofsted’s decision to use schools’ 2022 SAT and GCSE results as part of its judgment on the impacts of the curriculum.

The DfE announced Friday that it will not publish KS2 SATs in league tables, but will produce the “normal set” of KS2 accountability measures to share with schools, local authorities and academic trusts to inform school improvement. .

He added that he will deliver the data to Ofsted to “inform the inspection activity under the Quality of Education judgment, for example, on the impact of curricular decisions.”

The guidance said inspectors will know that the 2021/22 data is not comparable to other years and will be “sensitive in use”.

SATs shouldn’t be taking place this year

James Bowen, SEAM

The DfE said it would publish league tables for KS4 GCSE results at secondary schools and these would also be given to Ofsted to allow them to make judgments about the performance of the school curriculum.

Principals have said it “doesn’t make sense” for Ofsted to use 2022 GCSE and SAT data to judge schools due to the “prolonged and severe impact” of the pandemic.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and University Leaders, said: “It doesn’t make any sense for Ofsted to use data from this year’s SAT and GCSE to judge schools.

“The pandemic has had a long and severe impact on schools, and it has done so to a highly variable extent, with some schools more affected by staff and student absenteeism than others.

“This means there can be no level playing field in test and exam results, and it is unfair and potentially harmful to judge schools based on this data.”

James Bowen, policy director for the NAHT school leaders union, said NAHT believes “the SATs shouldn’t be happening this year.”

“They will be a useless distraction at a time when schools are still dealing with the ongoing impact of the pandemic,” he added.

The SATs are just an unnecessary additional pressure imposed on us by the Government

DirectorChris Dyson

“Not only that, but the data from them will be largely meaningless and provide little useful information for schools or parents.”

Chris Dyson, principal at Parklands Primary School in Leeds, said the SATs were unnecessary pressure on schools at a time when they were trying to make up for students’ lost learning.

“We’re doing everything we can to make the lead-up as low-key as possible,” he said.

“But I have heard from many schools that they have the possibility of an Ofsted inspection coming up, so of course they are crowding because they know they will be judged on the results.

“The simple truth is that many of these kids have had their education disrupted in the last two years and we are trying to fill any learning gaps as quickly and effectively as possible – the SATs are just an unnecessary extra pressure put on us by the government. .”

The news comes after a study revealed that most elementary school students are stressed about taking the SAT this year.

In a survey by YouGov, 60% of over 1,500 Year 6 students said they were worried about taking the SATs, with almost one in 10, 9%, saying they had trouble sleeping because of the upcoming exams .

Year 6 pupils said they were ‘nervous about failure’, ‘stress more easily’ or found exams ‘frightening’.

The results will simply fill in the cracks of what has been missed – the truth will be buried deep beneath the raw data.

Spokesperson for More Than a Score

More than half, 51%, said they had spent most of Year 6 taking practice tests for the SAT, while nearly half, 47%, said they didn’t enjoy school as much as they used to.

Nearly a third (30%) of Year 6 students who were concerned about taking the SATs said they did not want to let the school or teachers down, while 32% did not want to let down their parents.

The main concern reported by Year 6 students was worrying about ‘not knowing everything they should about English or Maths’, with 50% reporting this.

The need to focus on English and math was also having an impact on the rest of the curriculum, with 72% of children reporting that they do not spend enough time on subjects they enjoy, while English (85%) and math (88%) are the top two subjects they spent the most time learning.

These results echoed the findings of the charity Parentkind, which found that 95% of more than 1,700 parents said EWS had a negative impact on children’s well-being.

Another 86% said they did not feel the SATs were a useful means for the government to hold schools accountable, while 85% said they did not consider SAT results when choosing their children’s school.

Principals are also feeling the pressure, with a Teacher Tapp survey of more than 1,000 primary principals, senior leaders and Year 5 and 6 teachers finding that 91% said they were under more pressure than usual.

We do not base our judgments on test results, test scores, or other data.

ofsted spokesperson

Parentkind Executive Director John Jolly said: “The simple fact is that if parents, teachers and young people say that the SATs cause worry and fear, work must be done to change things.

“Also, with 80% of parents saying the SATs are not a useful way to measure how well a child is doing in school, it raises questions about what these tests are really for.

“We are very open-minded and happy to be part of an ongoing conversation about what education is for and how success is measured. But, if the first objective is to do no harm, these results are very worrying”.

A More Than A Score spokesperson said: “This year’s SATs will not demonstrate the effects of Covid on student learning.

“The results will simply fill in the cracks of what has been missed – the truth will be buried deep beneath the raw data.

“Schools, knowing they will continue to be judged by results, have been racing to complete the curriculum in time for SAT week in May. This has impacted student well-being and the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects. topics in any depth.

“Basically we don’t agree that the SATs and other assessments should take place this school year. Preparing for them is detrimental to children’s education, stressful for schools and students, and has an impact on mental health.”

An Ofsted spokesman said: “We do not base our judgments on exam results, test scores or other data. We use the data as a starting point for surveys, to inform our discussions with school leaders about what they are teaching children and how they are running their school. We will be particularly careful when considering this year’s data, given the impact of Covid.”


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