SATS ‘irrelevant’ say west Dorset headteachers

SATS ‘irrelevant’ say west Dorset headteachers

PROUD: Headteacher at Loders Primary School, Shirley Gibbs

INPUT: Bridport Primary School headteacher Debbie Brown

FIGURES: League table

First published in Bridport Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

PRIMARY School exam results and league tables just released have very little relevance, say West Dorset headteachers.

Many of the schools in the area have very low pupil numbers which mean the results are meaningless, they say.

Nor do they tell the full story of individual achievements and the progress made.

Helen Farmer, head of St Mary’s in Bridport, said the tables did not tell the whole story.

She said: “For most of the headteachers we are always very proud of all of the efforts our children put in.

“One of the things the SATS don’t recognise are the journeys that individual children have made.

“They are just statistics.

“It is not success stories of the children who have often battled against huge odds and of course we are very proud of each and every one of them.

“The tables do not tell the whole story.”

The tables cover key stage two, for pupils from ages seven to 11. They rank each school in the local education authority but also include other statistics.

They include the percentage of pupils reaching the required standard, level four, in English and maths at age 11.

Loders came 20th in the tables.

Shirley Gibbs, head of Loders School, said: “I am proud of how hard the children worked throughout the year at Loders.

“SATs only show a snapshot of what happens on the day of the actual test.

“They fail to take into account if a child is off colour or suffering with nerves about taking a test.”

Jean-Paul Draper, head of Powerstock School, said: “I think we have seven pupils so the tables are a bit irrelevant statistically.

“My concern is that all pupils make the necessary progress. As a parent that is what is important rather than a particular level.

“As a small school it is so hit and miss it is statistically irrelevant.

“We have all got to do them but we are always striving to do the best for our children.”

Debbie Brown, head of Bridport Primary School, which has the largest pupil numbers in West Dorset, said: “Our children work so hard to achieve their very best and this is different for every individual child.

“Staff motivate and encourage, support and challenge each of them giving every one the chance to be the best they can be.

“We are thrilled with the achievements of each and every one of our Year 6 pupils.”

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