SATs Wars

Today's BlogADayMay Blog is a short one. After writing a Blog about Wellbeing, I'd rather be spending today with my children than sat at my Laptop.

My title today is tenuous as best, but has been inspired by the repeated furore around Abi Elphinstone's messages regarding the SATs Grammar Test.

This time last year, Children's author Abi Elphinstone posted this photograph: Scottish writer Abi Elphinstone has divided opinion with a Facebook post telling youngsters not to worry about their SATs scores
It earned a lot of praise from stressed parents and children. The message seemed positive: doing poorly in SATs tests wouldn't be the end of the world as successful authors rely more on ideas and passion than knowing the names of grammatical rules and word types. As a teacher I wholeheartedly agree with her sentiment: Grammar is important but the emphasis on Knowledge isn't. Children need to know how to use language, they do not need to be able to identify it.

However at the time, and this year as the Photograph has been re-posted as part of a newspaper article, certain members of the Education Twittersphere have attacked the author, denouncing her as 'anti-intellectual'.

The author, and lots of Primary Teachers, aren't against knowledge or pupils being aware of Grammatical processes. It is not an anti-intellectual statement. It's an anti-testing statement. Year 6 pupils spend a full year of their education training for a handful of tests which do little to further their Education. In fact, the minute they arrive at High School those results are disregarded. The results are used to judge the School, and can affect the status and pay of the Year 6 Teacher.

We need to know that our pupils are making progress, we need to be able to pass on information to their next Education setting. However, SATs just doesn't work. I would rather Year 6 pupils spend a year focussing purely on what they need to progress, not what they need to pass a test.

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