Should Parents Boycott Sats?

Should Parents Boycott Sats?

Do you have a child due to take Sats next month?

If you have a child in Year 6 at primary school, you might be interested to hear that parents across the country are planning to withdraw their 10 and 11-year-olds from taking Sats tests next month.

The move comes as a result of concerns about the effect of Sats on children's mental health.

The Independent reports:

Thousands of parents have downloaded a letter which sets out plans to stop their children from taking the Sats exams next month because of the “pressures of a high stakes testing system”.

You can download the letter from Let Kids Be Kids, which campaigns for boycotting Sats.

The website states:

We aren’t against tests per se – teachers need a way to measure the progress of their children. The problem with the tests above are that they are HIGH STAKES tests for schools who are rated, judged and labelled by the DfE according to the achievements of our children. Teacher’s pay may also be linked to the results their classes get! The pressure coming from the DfE, to our LEAs, then to our heads and our teachers reaches it’s end point with our young children… they feel that pressure regardless of how good the teacher is at shielding it from them!

In schools in England, children take Sats in Year 2 and then again in Year 6. The tests focus on Maths and English and are designed to help teachers assess children's progress but critics, including teaching unions, argue that they put children under undue pressure and can have a detrimental effect on a child's mental health.

We'd like to hear your views on this story. Do you have a child due to take Sats? Leave us a comment here or come and join the conversation over on our Facebook page. And don't forget to take part in our poll to make your voice heard.


90 comments

  • Lou L.

    Tempted! Does anyone here have the guts to do it?

  • Hayley J.

    My daughter is in year 5 and will not be sitting them next year x

  • Kathryn M.

    I'd like to hear from a parent that has..

  • Vicky H.

    I'd prefer my children not to get stressed out by these tests.. There's no need

  • Lorna H.

    It’s difficult because it helps with putting them in correct sets in high school but I agree the pressure is beyond ridiculous. They’re akin to GCSEs these days with revision, stress etc. :slight_frown:

    • Kristy G.

      The teachers have spent all year collating more rounded and accurate information to pass on. I don't want Ben to dismiss them as a complete waste of time and wouldn't boycott them but we try to make it so that they're not something to stress over. We've told him it's a chance to 'show off' to the person marking his. He brought home about 8 papers to do over the holidays. He has done 2 on his own and we're working through another one together.

    • Nicola D.

      They actually don't help in putting kids in sets at high school, we've been told and seen it happen where kids are assessed in the first few weeks and moved around anyway x

    • Andrea B.

      NO THEY DO NOT!!!!!! They do tests when the get to year 7 and the teaching assessments done throughout the year place the kids in their sets, the SATs have nothing to do with this process!!!

  • Jamie-leigh C.

    I find the pressure far too much for these kids . What 6/7 year year olds need to sit bloody tests

    • Jamie-leigh C.

      No 6 and 7 year olds also have it sit test on maths and English .

    • Lyndsey T.

      Oh you're talking about the ks1 tests. They're not done under any kind of pressure though, my daughter sat them last year and didn't even really realise she was doing tests. The kids do lots of practice ones in the lead up and aren't given any results after the real ones.

    • Rebecca K.

      My kids school do tests from year 2 (age 7) upwards every may

    • Eve T.

      Whilst the kids may not be under pressure for ks1 sats, the amount of work and complexity that we expect a 6 year old to be able to do is ridiculous and the tests are pointless.

    • Cheryl A.

      Yes my 7 year old doing hers in May

    • Louise C.

      my daughter did yr 3 sats last yr under full test conditions they 100pct knew they were taking them and some parents went into complete meltdown but the kids came out buzzing like any other school day. each child and school is different but basically saying to your child "its ok sweetheart you don't have to do the big bad test if you don't want to" is not going to help them in the longrun, if we all had that approach nothing would get done!

  • Martine W.

    I’ve had problems with my son emotionally for the last month , I’ve told the teacher I believe it to be the build up of the sats and if this continues I will be pulling him from school . I’ve also told him they are not important and that it’s more to see how well the school has taught him , he seems to have settled back down at the moment!

    • Nicola D.

      I have exactly the same situation :disappointed_relieved:

    • Princess L.

      Me too my daughter hasn't slept without crying for the last couple of months :cry:

    • Safia K.

      What will you do when she's in year 7 where they do tests every term? Take her out again

  • Shelly J.

    My daughter is in year 5, she's behind in most area's *teacher has told me most the class / school has issues but she's nearly caught up * she's already stressed because of this so I doubt I will let her sit the tests

  • Cheryl F.

    We were looking to withdraw our son from it, however the over all decision is with the head....

    • Kelly B.

      Just don't send them in the week there sitting them x

    • Rebecca W.

      It isn’t the head, you have every right to withdraw, I withdrew my daughter because of the anxiety caused by it all. I simply sent a letter to head saying that I was withdrawing and if I needed to confirm this with the local education authority I was more than happy to do so.

  • Charlotte H.

    I have had 2 children sit theirs, there is nothing wrong with their mental health. I think it is the way the school also deals with it, it also prepares them for senior school.

  • Angela B.

    When my eldest moved up into y6 he got a bit stressed out about all the practice tests they were doing but by the time it got round to doing the actual SAT's he was fine. My daughter is currently in y6 and isn't worried about the SAT's at all if anything she is looking forward to them.

  • Leanne H.

    I believe the kids should be assessed all year to see where they are not just by one test, some kids including myself back in the day produce better work and understanding through other work than a test . But personally I'm not worrying what my son gets in a few months it doesn't define his ability for his future .

    • Sarah E.

      The problem with that is schools are under too much pressure to get “good” results. Teachers then overestimate and the students get unrealistic targets for their GCSEs. They then spend the next 5 years being told they’re underachieving. The best thing kids can do for their mental health is not try their best in these exams xx

  • Andrea C.

    The sats tests for 10 & 11 year olds are pointless I’ve since found out it’s only for the schools offsted reports so not really that important for the child because the children are tested again once they start high school to determine what sets they go into can’t see the point in stressing and letting the kids worry over them x

    • Anne J.

      Completely agree. I was told this after my daughter started to tantrum at home due to the stress being placed on her at school. She was also having nightmares!!

    • Toni C.

      My 11 year old is getting nightmares and she has never had them till the last 2 months

  • Lyndsey T.

    My daughter is in yr8 now. When she sat hers I told her to try her hardest but that it was mostly to find out how well the school was doing rather than her. She was just fine. There were children who were hysterical sitting them, I spoke to other parents who did pull their children out because of the way it was affecting them. The school were brilliant, told the kids it didn't matter how they did etc etc. I guess each child is different but it is also how we prepare our children. If we make a huge deal out of it, it becomes a big deal.

  • Sarah M.

    In NI we sit AQEs and GLs. For 4 consecutive Saturdays in November. Its long and drawn out. Bring back the 11+!

    • Kim-Georgina G.

      Only if you sign your child up and pay for it. I did the 11+ way back in the day. I think it needs to be brought back!

  • Sarah M.

    I think it depends on the child

  • Louise C.

    it's silly when i was at school we'd have daily tests in the form of teachers pointing their long board ruler at us randomly asking us to spell something or recite a timestable. My daughter took SATS in yr 3 and it didn't faze her at all she knew it was just to see where she was and where they could help her. What impression is it showing when we can pick and choose what children do or don't do at school? with the correct guidance from us as parents and the school we should get our kids through it stress free even if it means more time spent at home working on where they feel less confident. They have to grow up and understand hardwork gets results

    • Kirstin L.

      Yr 3 sats are completely different to yr6 sats! I’ve had two of my children sit them and my third will be doing them shortly, all of them at various different academic levels all of them supported by us as parents but one thing that I have seen is in yr 6 teaching is all about sats from the word go , all of them have been stressed and had their confidence shaken by the immense pressure placed on them for these sats. My eldest wasn’t fazed by his GCSEs but by god was he stressed about these sats, my daughter is an a* student and could easily have coasted these sats bit we had many many weeks of tears and confidence shaken as she was being pushed and pushed and my son now who needs extra help as he is dyslexic is so far the worst affected he breaks down almost every school day, we’ve done practice tests with him to try and help with his confidence it’s heart breaking to see a child who last yr achieved sooooo much and grew in confidence is being knocked repeatedly over these bloody sats ,did his yr 3 sats do that to him..... no

    • Nicola D.

      But these tests are actually meaningless? So why should our children be put through it? I never did them so why are 10 and 11 year olds forced into these stressful situations? My child's happiness and mental health is worth far more to me than some numbers that mean nothing :persevere:

    • Louise C.

      I'm sorry your kids school didn't give enough to support my daughters school are excellant and couldn't have been anymore relaxed about it and I'm sure when she hits yr 6 it will be absolutely the same. But I'm a firm believer in not wrapping my girls up in bubble wrap and putting them on a pedestal, my girls happiness and wellbeing is important like any other parent but at the same time life is hard and with each year that passes it gets harder, i want them to do well at school whilst they are still young and like sponges. SATS are not worthless the results show where they are sitting in the curriculum and a great school/teacher should be using the results accordingly to stop the struggling children from falling through the cracks and helping all children to flourish. My schooling was tough, it was strict, we respected our teachers, we were constantly tested. Year 6 students coming to end of primary should be tested to see where they are in terms of the primary basics, moving onto secondary education is a huge leap and such a vast difference and again our school works with our local secondary school the headteacher is always around my daughters school. Again I get some schools don't seem to offer a great deal of support but at the same time that is conversations/complaints you should make when it affects your children so badly their must be a school senco you or they can go to in order to make the process easier and calmer

    • Andrea B.

      Year 6 says are different and have nothing to do with the child’s ability! Our school has teachers assessments ever year and they work beautifully! The year 6 says are horrendous life may well be hard but they are 10-11 not 15 they don’t need this stress yet!!

    • Lynsey S.

      I was not aware of yr 3 sats! Both of my children had yr 2 sats and then yr 6. Yr 6 sats are such a waste of time. The results are not used when they progress to secondary school and it makes the whole of yr 6 a miserable time for staff and kids as all they do is prepare for the tests. In my opinion they should be enjoying their last year in primary and preparing for secondary school in other ways. Learning more self responsibility etc.

  • Vicki F.

    As stressful as these tests may be I question what parents are teaching their children by saying their children won’t sit them. Surely that makes the tests a far greater issue than they really are? Play them down, remind them that it’s about the school not their score but also enable them to understand what it is to conform. Rebel against this and then what? We all have to conform in life in so many ways. Parents teach children these lessons. Sitting any test for the sake of a school ranking should be played down as much as possible by the school and parents.

    • Nicola D.

      I agree but when you have your child crying at the thought of going back to school today because if these tests then Yes, I really would love to pull him out of them :persevere: I won't because I dont feel it would actually help but I have told him constantly that these tests and their results are not worth the paper they are written on but he is in bits over them no matter what I say :disappointed_relieved:

    • Vicki F.

      Nicola Davey my daughter sat the first new SATs in 2016 when the first paper was reading, the majority of children in the UK didn’t finish the paper and it was judged way too hard for their age. She sobbed her heart out the next day as I took her into school for yet more SATs, her confidence was shattered. My heart ached but I did my best to reassure her and she went on to complete them all. They’re a distant memory now and she was pleased she’d completed the gruelling week and with the results she got. The lesson I taught her that day though is still there and far more important than any results from those tests, bravery and compliance. I feel for you and your son, it’s not easy. :disappointed_relieved:

    • Andrea B.

      Take a look at the test papers and tell me again that taking my child out is wrong my second oldest is now sitting the highest maths and English gcse level exams he says the day papers are the same levels as what he is doing now!! It’s ridiculous!!

    • Vicki F.

      I’ve seen the papers. It’s obviously down to personal choice when parents make the decision for the child to sit them or not, we’re not all the same in our approach to parenting.

    • Liz L.

      It’s teaching critical thinking and that we are not test robots. The curriculum would be far rounder and more fit for purpose if SATs were abolished. A good teacher already knows the developmental level of their students

    • Rachael H.

      One of mine was the test year too, she was oblivious to how important they were and just went in and did them. I personally think it is how the teachers approach them and how positive or negative their attitudes are towards them. You do any tests in life to show what you know.

      I personally think they have been around a few years and the standard of education is much higher now than when I was at school. I am OK with that.

  • Chloe C.

    Yup pull them !! Kids should be kids. Not stressed and under pressure!

  • Anna C.

    My dad always told me it was to test the teachers to make sure they were doing a good job :joy: Worked though, I was never worried :ok_hand:

    • Clair H.

      That's exactly what I tell my 7 yr old!!

    • Hazel H.

      Exactly what my son's teacher has said to him.

    • Catherine B.

      I told my boys the same thing. Just daft government testing the school.

  • Elizabeth R.

    I went to primary school in the 90s when there was no where near the pressure there is now and I remember feeling really anxious about my y6 sats. I’d consider a boycott yes! Hate exams, they serve limited purpose x

  • Sheryl H.

    As a teacher if I had children that age I would seriously consider withdrawing them.

  • Anna S.

    I think they’re ridiculous my six year old has three test papers to do as homework She isn’t going to be doing them

  • George Y.

    I think it depends very much on the child and also the schools approach to it. My son struggled but when i explained to him its not really to test him but testing the school he wasn't too stressed over it. I sat them and it didn't harm Me. I even have memories of doing them! Children have to be prepared for what faces them at secondary school where they have end of term tests, mocks and G.C.S.E's. It's all part of progression.

  • Joanne W.

    Boycotting the actual SATs doesn’t stop my child from DAILY practice papers and tests to prepare for the actual tests!! Her teachers are more than able to assess her knowledge without SATs. Then when she goes to secondary school in September they retest to see which ability set she should be in.

  • Cheryl A.

    My 7 year old doing her year 2 Sat's in May I think these ones are just pointless :see_no_evil:

  • Kate T.

    I did sats tests at school... I’m pretty sure they haven’t scarred me. School life is all about tests. What about secondary end of year exams? Going to stop them?

  • Katie P.

    I don’t think it’s the actual tests that put too much pressure on children, it’s the fact that in some schools the entire Year 6 is spent revising and preparing for these tests. They can offer extra ‘enhancement’ sessions, some starting at 8am! Or ‘booster’ sessions after school. This is an emotional year for children, so many changes happen to them as they prepare to move to secondary school, they shouldn’t just be coached and moulded to pass these tests xx

  • Louise C.

    :clap: this is kids on pedestals at its very best. i love my girls with every ounce of my being, they are my world but at the sametime they need to grow, learn and understand the real world. We cannot show them that when things get tough we can throw our toys out the pram and stamp our feet, we support them, discuss with them and guide them!

  • Toni C.

    Our school is making them go in on Easter hols to revise to, even thought our children are already working at greater depth!! Also they are encouraging them to go on hegatty maths for hours on end and bring sat papers home. my kids are 11 and 7 it is ridiculous. when home I'm fine with homework but constantly revising and on hegatty maths on computer and doing Easter holiday school is unreal, oh and extra classes before and after school !!!

  • Nicola S.

    No such thing as stats in Scotland.

  • Sophie S.

    It’s all very well withdrawing them from their year 6 says but what about when they go into year 7 then they Have to sit cats. At secondary they are constantly doing tests to make sure they are in correct sets and jiggled about. I agree there is pressure on them but there’s completely no need and as parents it’s our job to reassure them this x

  • Amanda M.

    My 7 year old takes hers next month. So far she's completely unfazed at the prospect, but she knows just to try her best and that's all I'd ever ask of her. She won't get into trouble if her marks aren't great or she can't answer them all, but it'll help identify what she might need extra help to understand.

  • Amanda M.

    How on earth will children handle sitting in their GCSE exams for 3 hours a pop if they've been pulled out of every exam proposed beforehand?

    • Lynsey S.

      Massive difference between 10/11 yr olds and 15/16 year olds ability to handle stress.

  • Sonia M.

    My son is 8 and I tell him not to worry about tests or anything school related. It's not worth it. He just needs to make it through school. And then I worry about the possibility that he may still be worried . . .

  • Stacey B.

    My son is loving preparing for his SATs. After each practice test he comes home and knows what he needs to work on. His maths one he got 105 out of 110 plus his mental math was 39 out of 40. He likes a challenge and he likes to push himself his aim is 100%. The school hasn’t pressured the kids and are very just do your best

  • Vanessa H.

    I’m happy for to him to do them just need to speed up a bit they’ve been learning the stuff all year think it gets them ready for big school:scream::weary:

  • Becky H.

    Oh come on this is stupid. Wait until your children are doing GCSEs that is way more stressful!!

  • Janet A.

    Good kids should not have to the stress at there age different for 15to 16 year olds

  • Adam L.

    Sadly the damage will largely be done through the relentless preparation for the tests in any case. It needs schools to turn around and say that they will not alter their curriculum for SATS. However, whilst schools rely on good results to show that they are a good school this is unlikely to change. SATS are only used for two things firstly, to judge the school and secondly, to set GCSE targets for Progress 8 in order to judge the secondary school the children go to.

  • Laura H.

    Yeah like I don't understand the pressure parents love there kids to do well and not all kids can I have 2 brainy 2 who ain't it's that simple I was crap at school I wasn't brainy but parents are competitive aswell like to brag my kids done well no it's literally u pass or fail move on

  • Jacqueline P.

    These tests do not benefit the children. They are to show how good/bad the school is. But as some schools give extra booster lessons and tutoring just for the tests, they are not a true report of the schools teaching ability. The tests do not say what set your child goes into at high school. I agree with tests that show how well your child is progressing, but a good teacher should know if your child needs extra help or not.

  • Vicky C.

    Kids are going to be facing a hell of a lot more exams from 11 onwards! You can’t stop them sitting it all! Parents pulling them out of sats because they’re stressed is surely just saying we don’t have to do things that stress out rather than teaching them to deal with the stress and learn to calm down!

    • Andrea B.

      It’s not just parents the teacher bodies and associations are telling the government the SATs are a waste of time!!

    • Debbie C.

      I don't agree Vicky. I've considered pulling My daughter out, not because of stress (though it is an unhealthy way to approach learning) but because I don't believe in the tests. They cause a huge narrowing of learning in year 6 and, to some extent, year 5 too. They completely exclude arts subjects therefore sidelining the development of creativity and lateral thinking. Furthermore, I do not believe the tests are fit for purpose. The children are so drilled to the narrow test that the results are a reflection of whether the child can follow the drill rather than think for him/herself. The schools are judged purely on results so the test becomes the sole focus of learning. When they reach year 7 we have to undo so much damage in English lessons about what makes good writing rather than what the SATs narrowly define as what makes good writing.

      I would absolutely welcome the end of the tests at age 11. After all, like you say, they have so many exams to come; why oh why are we putting so much focus on testing them in year 6?

      You don't fatten a pig by weighing it. And children don't learn more by testing them.

  • Sally I.

    I think it's good for children to be tested. My 7 year old will be sitting her sats this year and isn't fazed by it. In India where I studied we sat exams 3 times a year every year. I believe it to be important to test the knowledge we gain so parents and teacher can know the levels of pupils and help them learn accordingly. I have grown up fine and it didn't affect my mental state whatsoever.

  • Andrea B.

    My son is dyslexic and has dyscalculia I know he won’t pass the teachers know and he knows he’s so stressed over this I’m seriously considering taking him out! There’s no point in him taking them it’s just setting him up to fail :neutral_face:

  • Lisa H.

    As long as you don't make a big deal of it as a parent then there shouldn't be a problem. I always tell my son, same as I was told, as long as you try your best then that's good enough! Takes all the pressure and expectations to get the top marks off, I did well at school and so did both my brothers.

  • Jackie H.

    My son sat his Sats last year he did amazing to my surprise... but they have no relevance in his secondary school ... how they apply them selves in class does ( they do well they get moved up or underachieve they get moved down) all the unnecessary worry and build up took a toll on most kids.. I was lucky with my son he was only worried about the transfer window or who was top in football

  • Catherine F.

    Yes! I would love to do this, she’s doing hers in year 2 this term :flushed:

  • Katherine C.

    I agree... Why stress them out too young.. There'll be so much of it anyway when they get older... No point bogging them down too soon x

  • Lisa W.

    Yep it poo but kids through this and some have learning difficulties to why should kids be made to do these SATs

  • Charlotte R.

    I think it’s good practice for tests later on. We have our second about to take them and their school is really good at preparing them but not piling on the pressure and stressing them out over it

  • Lisa H.

    Seriously good idea. Marcie came home and cried today. I can’t wait til this SATs torture is over :cry: xx

  • Kerri J.

    It only affects them if you let it I told my daughter they weren’t a big deal I told her to revise if she wanted to but not to worry and she wasn’t bothered by it at all and she did really well no need to put pressure on children if they know things great if they don’t that’s fine to don’t pressure them

  • Leanne F.

    My 11 year old has hearing loss in both ears and suffered with selective mutism until she was 6 she has always been “behind” according to her school but all of a sudden the minute she went into year 6 it became an issue ,they want her to go into school a hour earlier one day a week, they have taken 1 PE session away from her and they sometimes keep in her in class when all the other classes are doing an assembly.She brought home 4 test papers over the Easter break with a note from the teacher saying they need to do at least 30 minutes a day .It’s not the tests we have a problem with it’s the amount of pre testing they do .

  • Rachel S.

    I sat these the first year that they were running, it was no big deal. I was just told that it was to make sure I was put in the right group when I went to High school, no biggie. The issue is now the teachers themselves out an awful lot of pressure on our children because they are pressured and measured by their league tables, that in my opinion is wrong. My children are not define by a test, nor by a league table. I want to make sure the teachers are competent (which I know they are) but I don't care about ofsted tbh. The issue is that the government has pushed the whole thing to pressurise all involved. I don't care how my child 'performs' in an isolated test, I care more about their ability to prepare them for the big wide world. Yes, they will face stressful situations BUT these won't be tests, these will be very real life issues x

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