Cancel SATs, the phonics check and all formal government tests in primary schools in 2020 and 2021​

Nick Gibb MP

The next school year will be extremely challenging for children.

Most will have missed almost half a year of school. Many will have suffered bereavement or trauma. Schools will feel very different and disruption will continue for many months. This is not the time to make young children sit formal tests such as SATs under exam conditions.

Feeling safe and happy at school forms the bedrock of good learning; high-quality teaching delivers high standards. Intensive cramming for formal tests wont improve standards or close gaps in learning. With less of a level playing field than ever, any data collected in 2021 tests will be meaningless. Schools should not be judged on the results

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The government must cancel all statutory primary assessments in the 2020/21 school year.

For the foreseeable future, life for primary school pupils and teachers will be very different. Children may well have been through a difficult time and they will all be at very different stages in their learning. Parents and teachers want mental health and well-being to take top priority.

After a long period out of school, teachers must be allowed to do what they do best — inspiring children and giving support and reassurance where necessary. This is what delivers a high standard of education. Intensive cramming for formal tests is not the way to close any gaps in learning.

Children will start the next school year further from a level playing field than ever. It makes no sense for the government to carry on judging schools nationwide on how every individual child performs in pressurised tests. Any data collected will be meaningless.

Because you use SATs results to measure schools, the only way to avoid teachers and pupils having to cram for government tests is to drop them altogether in 2021.

The government must cancel the following formal assessments:

The Phonics Screening Check in Year 1

Key Stage 1 SATs in Year 2

The Multiplication Tables Check in Year 4.

Key Stage 2 SATs in Year 6.