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Poll: Should SATs be abolished as academy boss welcomes axe proposal?

As thousands of West Norfolk children face forthcoming SATs tests, the boss of one of the borough’s academy trusts has given a cautious welcome to a proposal to axe them.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was cheered at a union conference last week when he pledged the system would be scrapped if his party forms the next government.

His critics argue the move would lead to a decline in standards.

But Paul Donkersloot, chief executive of the KWEST Multi-Academy Trust, which sponsors six primary schools in West Norfolk, this week described it as an “interesting” idea.

He said: “The abolition of formal testing in primary schools is welcomed by KWEST. However, we fully support and recognise the need for external accountability.”

Pupils pitch to KWEST Academy Trust bosses
Pupils pitch to KWEST Academy Trust bosses

At present, children are required to sit the national tests in maths and English at the ages of seven and 11. This year’s exam period is in mid-May.

Mr Corbyn told the National Education Union conference in Liverpool that the present regime was “just wrong” because of the pressure placed on children and claimed standards could be raised by freeing teachers to focus on teaching.

He said his party would consult on a new system of assessment, arguing that a broader curriculum would improve standards of literacy and numeracy.

The view was dismissed as a “highly retrograde step” by ministers, who argue that the tests, which are set to be expanded with the introduction of baseline assessments, are vital to help parents see how their schools are performing.

But Mr Donkersloot thinks teachers should have a greater input in assessment.

He said: “Acknowledgement of the professional role of teachers in the assessment process would be a refreshing development.”


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