Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Whispers from Westminster: My U-Turn on Plan for Sats Resits in Secondary

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Whispers from Westminster: My U-Turn on Plan for Sats Resits in Secondary

Article excerpt

Jonathan Simons writes weekly about policy and education

"If children do not reach the required standards in their exams at the end of primary school, they will resit them at the start of secondary...to make sure no pupil is left behind."

After a period of silence on this manifesto commitment, during which crueller people than me hoped it had been dropped in the deep freeze, the government has announced a consultation, with resits due to start in December next year.

At the time that this was announced, I remember being pretty much the only person in favour. And if the numbers signing a Parliamentary petition are any guide (clue: they never are), it's still very unpopular. What's odd is how many opponents seem to have missed the policy intention. It's simply to ensure that children who don't make the mark at 11 can catch up, access the secondary curriculum and ultimately get good GCSEs and life outcomes.

It's the latest addition to a suite of checkpoints and catch-ups: reading tests for six-year-old pupils, the new multiplication test in primary, summer schools during transition, English and maths catch-up via pupil premium, and a requirement for those below grade C to resit English and maths GCSE post-16.

This, in other words, is the core education that you are entitled to, and the state will do its damnedest to get you there. This policy also recognises that at present, in most schools, accountability incentives mean that key stage 4 is where more money and better teachers are often put. …

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