Socialist Worker

Keep fighting to end SATs

The government’s long-awaited independent review of the primary curriculum will disappoint anyone hoping to see an end to the hated SATs tests.

Issue No. 2132

The government’s long-awaited independent review of the primary curriculum, which was published last week, will disappoint anyone hoping to see an end to the hated SATs tests.

Nobody who is involved in providing education defends the tests for seven and 11 year olds.

Pupils, parents, academics and teachers see them as time-consuming, stressful and crude.

The government insists that SATs are necessary to compile performance league tables and justify the investment of public funds.

SATs are a way of driving competition in education.

The testing regime is the elephant in the room in Sir Jim Rose’s report.

It nevertheless contains some progressive and welcome elements when it comes to breaking down artificial subject boundaries and looking to introduce better foreign language skills.

But teachers have become cynical about such ideas because we know that all changes in public services are imposed on, rather than discussed with, workers.

In addition, the New Labour government rarely spends the time and money to do justice to positive reforms.

This report fits a long line of New Labour policy proposals in education, such as Every Child Matters, which use progressive rhetoric to serve neoliberal ends.

The review is called “independent”. But although Jim Rose is an academic, he was commissioned by politicians.

In contrast, next February the authoritative and truly independently-funded Cambridge Primary Review will conclude its series of damning research reports into the quality of our schools over the last ten years.

Undertaken collectively by university education departments, and coordinated by ex-Ofsted deputy Robin Alexander at Cambridge university, their work has already documented the awful impact SATs have had on millions of kids.

Everyone opposed to SATs will have to come together next year in a coalition to finally end their stranglehold on learning.

Contact the Anti-SATs Alliance by email at

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Mon 15 Dec 2008, 19:00 GMT
Issue No. 2132
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.