Commenting on the primary school performance data for Key Stage 2 SATs tests in England, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said;
‘It is certainly good news to see the attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged primary school pupils narrow. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of schools.
‘League tables are however a dreadful way of measuring success. By their very nature there will also be someone at the bottom and they do not reflect the differing environments schools operate within.
‘Every teacher and school wants their pupils to be achieving to the very best of their ability. The use of a crude measure of attainment in reading, writing and maths however for each pupil in the Key Stage 2 SATs, fails to reflect much of the crucial work carried out by schools who support pupils in the most challenging circumstances.
‘An overzealous focus on SATs is often at the expense of the broader educational experience for primary children. Many children feel utterly anxious and worried throughout their last year in primary school as they build up to the test. This is placing entirely unnecessary pressure on very young children.
‘The fact that the floor targets are going to rise again for 2016 will increase further the pressure on schools to focus heavily on the test subjects. Of course schools should be held accountable, but we need a system that gives a true picture of pupil achievement and does not get in the way of a rounded education which engages and enthuses pupils’.