Lancaster and Morecambe parents react to SATs proposals

Last year's day of action when parents took their children out of school.
Last year's day of action when parents took their children out of school.

“We still need to keep fighting, there is a long way to go yet.”

This is the reaction of one Lancaster parent after it was revealed SATs tests for seven-year-olds are set to be scrapped.

The government is proposing to remove the controversial testing and replace them with new assessments at an earlier age.

The move comes after vigorous strike action took place nationally last year from teachers, parents and pupils, all speaking out against the pressure of SATs testing.

In Lancaster hundreds of families in Lancaster and Morecambe took part in a day of action on May 3 against “unfair” testing in schools.

“I think from the children’s point of view it is the best news,” said Janine McGregor, a Year 6 teacher at Moorside Primary School in Lancaster.

“The SATs they have been put through are completely horrendous. This is the power of parents.”

A member of the Lancaster and Morecambe Parents Defending Education group (LMPDE), has said these proposals are just a start.

“It’s a small result, there is a long way to go yet,” said Janet Regan, a mum-of-two and a member of LMPDE.

“Before the strikes last year people were saying ‘oh what’s the point in doing anything’ but it shows there is a point.

“It is something to be proud, if no one had taken action then maybe they would not be having these consultations.”

If SATs test for seven-year-olds are scrapped they will be replaced with new assessments for first-starters.

The assessments, which would not come into place before the 2019-2020 academic year, are designed to “reduce the burden” of assessments on pupils and teachers, said the Department for Education.

Some are unsure about the new assessments.

“When kids start reception some have just turned four, some of them are nearly five, at that level there is a big difference between the two to test them fairly,” said Ms Regan.

“The good news is that the children won’t feel like they are being tested. But I still think it’s a means in which to judge teachers, it is a very complicated issue,” said Ms McGregor.

“I feel to give a child a label at reception and then say what they will be expected to achieve is unfair, but I don’t know too much about the effects that may have.”