SATs are essential for secondary education

Date posted
19 Jul 2019

This week, primary schools up and down the country received this year’s SATs results and would have been spending a lot of time digesting the figures to see where they stand nationally. To coincide with this, a survey of primary school teachers was published this week. 97% of those that responded to the survey run by the National Education Union said that SATs should be abolished.

We believe that if this happens it would be a huge setback for education. SATs tests are a crucial way of ensuring that basic skills are assessed before children move to secondary school. This is the ideal age to address any issues identified by the child’s results. Additionally, SATs give parents a clear indication of how their child is progressing at school. The experience can also be used to gradually prepare children for future testing scenarios, such as GCSEs and A levels.

Children have always been tested at this age. Before the SATs were introduced, tests were sat at many schools at the start of year 7 because schools needed to know their pupils’ ability. This information is still required by secondary schools and SATs provides this, enabling schools to set or stream their pupils accordingly.

Once children are in the secondary system it is very difficult to work on basic literacy and numeracy skills. Without these basic abilities, all subject areas become inaccessible. Without reasonable levels of literacy, it is almost impossible for students to progress well in English, history, geography, religious studies and biology – poor literacy affects all areas of study. Without a good level of numeracy, maths, physics, chemistry, IT design and technology become challenging for children.

Working towards taking SATs at year 6 means that those children who are struggling in basic numeracy and literacy can be more easily identified and helped. These basic skills need to be in place before they start secondary school and testing by SATs is an ideal way to pinpoint problems.