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SATs Dropped for 7 Year Olds. 4 June 2004

The Department of Education has agreed to changes being made to the way in which seven-year-olds attainment is measured and reported to parents by primary and infant schools. For many years, schools have used statutory tests (SATs) to measure the standards children have reached at the end of Year 2. The tests have been used to assess the levels children have reached in reading, writing and mathematics. Although these tests have played a part in raising standards, the Department recognises that the assessments that teachers make (Teacher Assessment) give a more accurate picture of the levels children have reached across a wider range of their learning. Teacher Assessments are not only more accurate but they are also more rigorous because they are carried out over a longer period of time.

As a result, the Department has agreed that, from September 2004, seven-year-olds in the Island's schools will not have to take the tests but that teachers will continue to assess the children as part of their day-to-day work. This has many benefits for the children. They will not have the stress of formal testing and teachers will be free to plan an even more exciting and relevant curriculum for them. There will be increased opportunities for teachers to build on the Foundation Stage Curriculum experienced by children in the nursery and reception years and to ease their transition into Year 1. Teachers are delighted with the change and see it as a wonderful opportunity to develop their ideas for providing children with challenging and enjoyable learning without the constraints of formal tests at the end.

The National Curriculum levels that seven-year-olds achieve will continue to be reported to parents at the end of Year 2 but the levels will now be based on Teacher Assessments. Schools will continue to report the levels each child attains to the Department of Education. Each school will be expected to track each child's progress to make sure that they are achieving to the best of their ability.

The decision to drop the formal tests for seven-year-olds ties in closely with the Department's encouragement to primary schools to look at ways in which the curriculum can be made even more enjoyable. As a way of building on the good standards in our schools, headteachers and teachers are being encouraged to consider some of the ideas contained in a DfES document entitled 'Excellence and Enjoyment'. This document, based on the evidence from the best practice in successful primary schools in England, stresses the importance of maintaining high expectations of children whilst providing them with meaningful opportunities to learn and to develop their skills across the curriculum.

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