Union launches new blast on primary tests

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Primary schools must not be judged on their SATs tests results alone, headteachers warn.

Schools and parents know that the results, published today, must be taken with a “pinch of salt”, according to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).

More than half a million 11-year-olds across England took national curriculum tests, known as SATs, in May. The results are used in annual school league tables to assess a school’s performance.

National figures on the proportions reaching the Government’s expected standard for the age group will be released this morning.

NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “Currently, the methods to hold schools to account aren’t as fair or as reliable as they should be. SATs data only gives parents part of the picture when judging a pupil’s success or a school’s effectiveness. League tables are the least helpful way of knowing if a school is the right place for your child.

“At the moment, parents and schools know that these results have to be taken with a pinch of salt. This can’t be right. Just looking at data misses the majority of the real work schools do to help young people achieve their full potential.

“Schools do need to be held to account, but inspectors should look at more than just data. That way, when parents are reading Ofsted reports, they can have more confidence that the report properly reflects how good the school actually is.”

There are signs that Ofsted is changing the way it uses data with chief inspector Amanda Spielman stating recently that inspections must examine what is behind school data, asking how they have achieved their results.

SATs have long-proved controversial, unions arguing they put too much pressure on pupils, and the results are an unreliable measure of school performance.