Against the "National Challenge"!/ Abolish SATS

Submitted by cathy n on 25 August, 2008 - 7:22

Against the “National Challenge”

The National Challenge scheme, launched in June 2008, is supposed to push up school standards.

Schools have been threatened with being forced to convert into Academies, and could face the loss of specialist status and the removal of funding. The 638 National Challenge schools were selected on the basis that fewer than 30 per cent of their students have achieved five or more A*-C grade GCSEs, including English and maths.

Now, according to the Times Educational Supplement, “300 extra schools can expect to be subject to special scrutiny under an extension of the National Challenge scheme.” These 300 secondary schools are deemed by the governement to be “coasting”.

Unsurprisingly the first effect has been to drastically cut applications to many of the named schools, making the job of the teachers much harder and stigmatising children.

Abolish SATs!

The recent debacle involving ETS, the company which failed to deliver many SATs results on time, has raised the school testing issue again, from a different angle.

Key Stage 2 and 3 SATs tests were taken by 1.2 million 11 and 14 year olds in England.

ETS is to pay back £19.5m and cancel invoices worth £4.6m. The total contract for 2008 was worth £39.6m.

The government currently spends £165m on the SATs testing regime. That money could be better spent. SATs cause unnecessary stress for teachers and students.

Christine Blower, Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers commented, “No results can be relied upon, particularly in light of the high number of appeals and missing results.

"It is now time to call a halt to the SATs."

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