There will be jubilation in secondary schools at the announcement by schools secretary Ed Balls that Sats tests are to be scrapped with immediate effect. But there will be despair in primary schools where the tests are to be retained.
The mood in secondary schools was summed up by Harrow High School assistant headteacher Jo Lang. She said, “At last we are freer to get on with some real teaching”.
Sidcup parent Teresa Grey was elated. “Not a moment too soon!” she said. “Consistent fear of failure has marred both my children’s experience of school.”
Her daughter Eleanor is in year eight. “It’s really good news because Sats are so boring,” she said, “and they put us under unnecessary pressure.”
But Leeds mother Sally Kincaid was not so happy. “The last year of primary school should be the most exciting time to learn for a young person, but my daughter Rosa will spend hour after hour rehearsing Sats.”
Rosa was delighted to learn that these would be her last Sats, but upset that she will still have to go through with them in 2009.
Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen observed that, “Media interviewers never seem able to ask the government why it's OK for English children to have to do Sats but Welsh and Scottish kids don't have to do them.”
Edinburgh University academic and author Terry Wrigley said that, “This is a tribute to a sustained anti-Sats campaign, as well as a sign that the government are desperate to recover some popularity. It helps to open up some more space for real education.”
NUT Acting General Secretary Christine Blower said, “I call on Ed Balls to suspend all primary school tests and commission a comprehensive and independent review of testing and assessment, and to include fully all school communities in that review.”