SATs are not ‘age appropriate’ – Redbridge head hits out at government

Pupils at St George's day at Redbridge Primary School, the school Carel Buxton is headteacher of.

Pupils at St George's day at Redbridge Primary School, the school Carel Buxton is headteacher of. - Credit: Archant

A headteacher has criticised some of this week’s SAT tests, saying they were not “age appropriate” and caused “stress” for pupils.

Redbridge Primary School headteacher Carel Buxton told the Recorder: “In particular the reading test was very difficult.

“The relationship between headteachers and the Department for Education has not been a happy one. I would say to Nicky Morgan – let us run our schools!”

Her comments came after education secretary Ms Morgan conceded a partial U-turn on forced academisation on Friday.

The Conservatives had previously planned to turn all schools into academies by 2022.

But Ms Morgan announced the government was scaling back the controversial proposals.

In a statement she said: “I am today reaffirming our determination to see all schools become academies.

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“However, having listened to the feedback from parliamentary colleagues and the education sector, we will now change the path to reaching that goal.”

Legislation will still allow the government to force underperforming schools to become academies.

Mrs Buxton said “the majority of teachers welcomed the news.

“We are all very pleased – parents, teachers and governors – with the partial climb down,” she said.

She described forced academisation as an “attack on democracy”.

“This costs millions and millions of pounds from the people of Redbridge, which all goes to private companies.

“I trust the council to run our schools, and I trust our local MPs, they are democratically elected.”

Redbridge Council’s cabinet member for children and young people Cllr Elaine Norman said she was “pleased with the back down”.

The Labour councillor added: “I’m concerned that they still plan on forced academisation.

“We have 81 good or outstanding schools in Redbridge. The partnership between them and the local authority gives outstanding results, why would Nicky Morgan want to change that?”

But Victoria Baskerville, chairwoman of campaign group Redbridge Against Academies, said the fight “was not over”.

The mum of two from Wanstead said: “We feel nothing has changed, they still want to turn all schools into academies. We don’t want schools run by businesses.”

Commenting on the SATs a Department for Education spokesman said: “These tests should not be a cause of stress for pupils, they help teachers make sure children are learning to read, write and add up well.”

“The truth is if they don’t master literacy and numeracy early on, they risk being held behind and struggling for the rest of their lives – we are determined to prevent this by helping every child reach their full potential.”

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