Key stage 2 SATs will go ahead but league tables will not be published

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Test results will not be included in performance tables for this year, the Department for Education (DfE) has said.

The DfE confirmed that key stage 1 tests in English reading and mathematics, and the English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests at key stage 1 and 2 will be removed for one year, “in recognition of the challenges posed by the pandemic”.

However, although primary performance data will not be published, teacher assessment in English reading, writing and mathematics at key stage 1, and all other assessments at key stage 2, will remain.

The DfE has also said that schools can take a flexible approach to the administration of the key stage 2 tests and phonics screening check, by extending the original timetable by a week, until May 26 and June 25, respectively.

A statement on Thursday (December 3) said: “These measures will help to understand pupils’ lost time in education and support those that need it most, providing vital information to parents and assisting with pupils’ transition to secondary schools.”

Commenting on the news, the National Education Union welcomed the cancellation of key stage 1 tests, but was disappointed to learn that key stage 2 SATs will go ahead.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary, said: “We believe that tests in key stage 2 should also have been cancelled. Keeping most key stage 2 tests in place will mean that in many schools they will continue to be the focus of year 6 teaching.

“The government has not recovered from its addiction to testing, and children will pay the price. Months of test preparation are not the way to ‘build back better’.

"The government needs urgently to clarify what it means to do with test results. It says that they will not be published, but this is very different from saying that they won’t be used. Teachers require an assurance that the results of key stage 2 tests in 2021, which cannot possibly be a measure of the quality of a school, will not be used as a measure of accountability.

"The suspicion remains that key stage 2 SATs are being brought back not because of their educational value, but because the government fears that schools will learn to live without them."

The news comes as the DfE has also reviewed its remote education guidance and is setting out updated expectations “to provide further clarity for schools, colleges, parents and pupils”.

Primary schools are now expected to provide a minimum of three hours a day on average of remote education, with secondary schools expected to provide at least four hours’ worth.

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