By Jasmine Lee-Zogbessou
School children and their parents took to the parks of Sheffield this week to protest against the Government’s plans to change SAT exam marking.
Parents at Endcliffe Park were outraged at the standard pass rate being raised and the stronger concentration on complex grammar and literacy rules, which they argue is too hard for children of such a young age.
The events were a part of a national day set up by the ‘Let Our Kids Be Kids’ campaign group, with even larger numbers protesting across London and Brighton.
Rose Butler, a parent and lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University said:
“The Government need to realise that parents are angry about this new emphasis on the SATs testing.
“Teachers are fed up of not being listened to, the National Association of Headteachers have spoken out about this and I hope that they’ll begin to listen to parents, pupils, headteachers, the National Union of Teachers and all these different bodies and individuals who are speaking out against the new SATs tests.”
However, the Ministers for Education across England insist that these changes are essential.
Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools said: “These tests are vital in helping schools to ensure that young children are learning to read, write and add up well.
“The truth is if they don’t master literacy and numeracy early on, they risk being held behind and struggling for the rest of their lives.
“Children should only ever be taken out of school in exceptional circumstances, it simply isn’t fair on children to deprive them of a day of their education.”
‘What do we want, freedom! When do we want it, now!’
Children as young as six attended the protest, holding their handmade banners and posters to show their discontent. One child, Zack Watts, a Year Three pupil said: “I think that SATS can be stressful. I’ve only done the Year Two SATS but according to everyone else here, it sounds really, really hard, the SATS in Year Six.”
He added more about why he’s against Key Stage 3 SATS.
For more information on the campaign, visit letthekidsbekids.wordpress.com