We recently published information about Key Stage 2 SATs in a blog post called Protecting children from primary school tests. It was based on the official instructions sent to headteachers by the Standards and Testing Agency, known as the Assessment and Reporting Arrangements (ARA).
It is often assumed that headteachers have to make every child do the tests. That is clearly not the case. The document explicitly states that some children should not take them, including ‘pupils who are experiencing, or have recently experienced, severe emotional problems‘ (page 18). Although the document gives heads the final decision, it instructs them to ‘discuss the pupil’s circumstances and needs with their parents and teachers‘.
Children often hold back their emotions in school. They are more likely to confide in parents, and parents are more likely to notice signs of anxiety. One of our researchers heard yesterday from a Liverpool parent who wrote:
“The SATs have caused him a lot of distress and he started suffering anxiety attacks in Autumn last year.” Continue reading