Tories to scrap primary school Sats

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The Independent Online

The Conservatives are to propose scrapping all primary school Sats tests for 11-year-olds in England, it was reported today.

Shadow schools secretary Michael Gove will outline plans to replace the controversial exams with national tests in the first year of secondary school, the BBC said.

These would be marked by their teachers rather than external examiners, it is proposed.

By switching the tests to secondary school, the last year of primary education would be freed up for teaching, Mr Gove will reportedly argue.

He will also say the results of tests taken at secondary school would be more accurate and could also reduce duplication as many secondary schools already test new pupils, said the BBC.

Two of the biggest teaching unions are planning to boycott next year's Sats - which are examined in Maths, English and Science.

The National Association of Head Teachers and the NUT said they distorted the curriculum as they resulted in "teaching to the test", where pupils are trained to learn just what they need to pass, at the expense of a broader education.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has warned that head teachers have a statutory duty to administer the tests, and to not do so would be unlawful.

Last month Schools Secretary Mr Balls accepted a review body's recommendation that Sats science tests for 11-year-olds be abolished in favour of teacher assessment.

But the review expert group said maths and English tests were useful to parents and should remain.

Mr Balls scrapped Sats for 14-year-olds in England last October after a fiasco over the marking of exam papers, but they remain for seven and 11-year-olds.

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