No SATS to sit for pupils

Mrs Tyldesey helps Ciaran Bond
Mrs Tyldesey helps Ciaran Bond
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Children across the UK have this week been sitting down to take their SATS exams.

But for Year Six pupils at one Fylde coast school there’ll be no tests in sight.

Instead at Rossall School, youngsters are busy preparing their own presentations – a far cry from the stress of the controversial national tests.

Rossall School is one of the few schools in the North West to offer the Primary Years Programme for 3 to 11-year-olds, part of the International Baccalaureate system.

And head of junior school Katie Lee insists it’s far more beneficial for the 10 and 11-year-olds taking part.

“This week when all over the country pupils are sitting down for their test our students will enjoy forest school and beach school,” she said.

“Our year three, four, five and six students have been away on residential courses.

“The approach here is very different.

“Instead of tests our students, in small groups, prepare their own exhibitions.

“They choose their own topic and this year the focus is on health so they’ve been researching health, exercise and fitness, about diet, a healthy heart, the impact of exercise on the body.

“They choose how they want to present what they have learned.”

And instead of putting pen to paper in silence, the pupils are able to share their learning with the rest of the school.

Mrs Lee explained: “We hold an education fair, a big exhibition and parents and other pupils can come in and see everything that has been produced.

“The children are there to explain everything.

“They speak with authority and show real life skills they are developing.”

It’s a broad learning approach which Mrs Lee believes gives pupils skills which will be useful beyond the classroom.

“They are learning life skills, it’s not just pockets of knowledge to pass a test.

“Exams can be such a false measure, the pupils are only as good as they perform on the day.

“They just learn how to pass.

“The Government talks about critical thinking.

“Our pupils are doing that on a daily basis.

“They are not spoon fed.”

The difference in teaching approach isn’t only apparent during the SATS exams.

“We have units of investigation,” explained Mrs Lee.

“It could start off being science based but then there’s an English element as they learn about grammar in presenting their findings. There could be statistics or geography elements. It’s cross-curricular and the best thing is they do not realise they are learning.”