Dagenham schools welcome plan to scrap children’s writing test

Headteachers have given a cautious welcome to plans to scrap some parts of the SAT exams and toughen up others.

A shake-up of primary school exams will hand the power to judge children’s creative writing back to the teachers and focus more on the basics, a review has found.

Lord Bew, who led the study of the national curriculum tests taken by 11-year-olds, says that a current spelling test should be retained and made more challenging, but the writing test could be scrapped.

More than 4,000 schools boycotted SATs last year and teachers in two unions demanded they be scrapped altogether, saying much of it was subjective and impossible to mark consistently.

Although some heads have welcomed the results of the independent review, one union is concerned it does not go far enough.

William Ford Junior in Ford Road, Dagenham, was the highest performing school with St Teresa Primary in Bowes Road, Dagenham, in 2010. Both received 95 per cent scores.

William Ford headeather Dr Duncan Ramsey, 43, said: “I’m quite happy the writing test won’t be happening. It’s quite subjective, marking writing.

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“I think the review is moving us forward. For us it is not the test which is important, it is the children.

“Our children will do well. It is not the test that makes the children, it’s the teaching.”

One of the primary schools in Barking and Dagenham that boycotted SATs last year was Roding School in Hewett Road, Dagenham.

Headteacher Brian Fox said: “Overall there are some useful things but there are still issues that need to be addressed.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove has backed Lord Bew’s findings and full plans for a system change are expected to be announced next month.

But NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates, said the authors had “ducked the issue and come up with a fudge”.