Ten-year-old Lancaster schoolgirl writes to Government over SATs concerns

Bethia Taylor with her letter to Nicky Morgan.
Bethia Taylor with her letter to Nicky Morgan.

Studying for her school tests left 10-year-old Bethia Taylor in such a panic, she took matters into her own hands – and wrote to the Government’s education chief to tell her exactly what she thought.

Scotforth CE Primary School pupil Bethia wrote the letter to Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan one night and put it under her mum Becky’s bedroom door.

Scotforth head Alison Aylott.

Scotforth head Alison Aylott.

In it, she wrote about how “appalled” she was at the stress put on children and teachers alike by SATs and asked the minister to look again at how they are done.

The letter has also been sent to Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as well as Lancaster MP Cat Smith.

Bethia was one of hundreds of children who were kept off school on Tuesday in protest at the SATs tests they are being forced to take.

Mrs Taylor said: “I was very surprised and very proud of her for standing up for herself and her friends and teachers.

“I felt that if she wanted to do that then we as parents should stand by her which is why she stayed off school.”

Scotforth head Alison Aylott said: “We got to know about the letter when her mum brought it up at parents’ evening.

“Bethia copied in David Cameron too but has not received any response, or even acknowledgement as far as I am aware, to date.

“The letter is entirely Bethia’s own unedited work. I thought it was extremely well-written.

“I was very impressed and I am very proud of her.”

The youngster, who is in Year 6, also spoke at the public meeting held at Lancaster Town Hall last Thursday evening.

She told the meeting: “Me and the rest of the people in my class, we used to be at the top and now we feel really bad about what we are being forced to do and what the teachers are being forced to do.”

Mrs Aylott added: “We have tried very hard as a school to minimise the stress for the pupils but it’s hard.”
Mrs Aylott was one of a group of local headteachers who travelled to London on Wednesday to lobby outside Parliament to speak to MPs David Morris, Cat Smith, Ben Wallace and Nigel Evans.

They also spoke to London parents about their concerns, and invited them to try to answer SATs questions.

“None of us are against assessment but it has to be fit for purpose, useful and reliable,” Mrs Aylott said.

“We want our children to enjoy their childhood and I really don’t think the current regime works for me.”