Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

List Should Be Seen as 'Badge of Honour'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

List Should Be Seen as 'Badge of Honour'

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicola Juncar

MORE than a quarter of schools in the North boycotted tests for 11-year-olds, new figures have revealed.

Key Stage 2 exams - better known as SATs - were held in English and maths in May for pupils in their final year of primary school but 185 schools in the region decided not to run them as part of a campaign by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

A list of the schools who boycotted the tests was released by the Government yesterday, with Education Secretary Michael Gove saying it was "unfortunate" that their parents would not get information on their children's progress. But unions said the list should be seen as a "badge for honour".

Shiremoor Primary School headteacher Helen Clegg chose to run lessons as normal during SATs' week, saying the decision was made after "a lot of soul-searching". She said: "We don't oppose testing the pupils, we are against what the tests lead to. Schools are judged by the results because of the league tables and they do not compare like with like."

In Newcastle, 37 primary schools boycotted the tests, as did 30 in Gateshead, 47 in North Tyneside, 48 in County Durham, 30 in Sunderland and 10 in South Tyneside. Just three schools in Northumberland chose not to run them. Despite the support for scrapping the SATs from both school leaders and academic experts, Mr Gove announced yesterday that SATs would go ahead in 2011.

That announcement came despite the fact that as shadow education secretary, Mr Gove last year argued the SATs tests were "not useful for a child's later education". Yesterday he said: "We want to consider what we can learn from other countries, to compare our tests with standards set elsewhere, and to look at how we can make the tests more useful.

"I believe headteachers and teachers will agree the solution to strengthening the tests is to work together and agree on how they can be reformed. While we work with others to improve and strengthen the tests, it is crucial that there is no gap in information provided to parents, pupils and teachers next year."

The NAHT has reacted angrily to Mr Gove's apparent U-turn, with general secretary Mick Brookes saying: "We understand that the identities of schools that boycotted the tests in 2010 have been published. We feel that schools which appear on this list should treat this as a badge of honour.

"We are delighted that parents in those schools are completely satisfied with the information they have received about their child's progress."

SCHOOLS THAT DIDN'T SIT SATS GATESHEAD Carr Hill; Kelvin Grove; Bede; Kibblesworth; Dunston Hill; High Spen; Highfield; Washingwell; Dunston Riverside; Lobley Hill; Wardley; Glynwood; Colegate; Roman Road; Caedmon; Chopwell; Parkhead; St Oswald's; St Peter's; St Anne's; St Agnes'; St Joseph's; Sacred Heart; St Philip Neri; St Joseph's; St Mary's; St Alban's; St Augustine's; Gibside; Eslington. …

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