MPs and Peers score LOWER than 10-year-olds on SATS - 'It was hard!'

The Sats tests were invigilated by 11-year-olds.s.
The Sats tests were invigilated by 11-year-olds.s.

The event was organised in Westminster by More Than A Score, a campaign group looking to get Sats scrapped

Published

MPs and peers presented with the challenge of completing a year 6 Sats exam have scored lower results on average than 10-year-olds across the country.

The exam was invigilated by 11-year-olds, and was taken by MPs including Commons education select committee chair Robin Walker at a Westminster event organised by More Than A Score, who are campaigning for the tests to be scrapped.

The expected standard in maths was only met by 44% of the cross-party group of Parliamentarians, while only 50% achieved the expected standard in spelling, punctuation and grammar.

59% of pupils aged 10 to 11 reached the expected standard in the Sats tests of maths, reading and writing this year in the UK, down from 65% in 2019, the previous time the tests were taken.

Disadvantaged children had a more drastic fall than their better-off peers according to figures published by the Department for Education.

More Than A Score ran the scheme with the hope of showing politicians the high-pressure nature of the examination, arguing this is something pupils should not have to deal with.

Labour MP Ian Byrne, who took the exam, described the experience as “absolutely terrifying”, he said: “The mental impact such pressure would have on these young children is immense.

Campaign group More Than A Score want Sats tests scrapped.
Campaign group More Than A Score want Sats tests scrapped.

“Sats at this level must be scrapped. I’m delighted so many cross-party colleagues could experience this pressure too”, he told The Guardian.

Walker agreed there is a need to reform exams for 10 to 11-year-olds, but refused to back an altogether dropping of exams.

He said: “There will always be a place for testing but that cannot be the be-all and end-all to accessing the most opportunity.

“Ultimately, it’s not just about testing but it’s how we develop their love of reading.”

His Conservative colleague Flick Drummond, who also undertook the test, welcomed the sentiments put forward, describing a lot of the terminology used in the grammar exam as “unnecessary”.

He argued assessments should not be carried out at such “high stakes” but said there remains a need for them.

He admitted “it was quite a hard test and we need to acknowledge what will actually be useful for the future.

“We’re not educating young people to pass tests, we should want to give them the love of learning.”

Alison Ali from More Than A Score said: “This is more than a test of maths and English capabilities, it’s an opportunity for MPs to put themselves in the shoes of 10 and 11-year-olds.

“They will see how absurd some of the questions faced by children are, how these absurdities influence and narrow the whole curriculum and how they are only used to judge schools not to help children’s learning.”