School tests at 14 scrapped

The government is scrapping national tests for 14-year-olds following this summer’s Sats fiasco.

Ed Balls, schools secretary, made the announcement to the Commons this afternoon.

He plans for internal teacher assessments to be used from 2009 onwards.

“Over the last seven years we have fallen behind as a country in every external measurement of educational performance so it is welcome that Ed Balls has recognised that change is necessary,” said shadow schools secretary Michael Gove.

Tests for primary school pupils and school league tables will remain, however.

David Laws, Liberal Democrat schools spokesman, said the tests were a bad way of forming judgments about the standard of education in the UK.

“The Sats tests taken by 14-year-olds are not only a waste of time but have been highly unreliable over the last few years,” he said.

The reform follows almost universal criticism of the tests from opposition parties, teachers unions and children’s groups.

Dr Mary Bousted of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said the group was “delighted” the government had scrapped key stage three tests.

“We continue to hope the government will eventually recognise the damaging impact of key stage two tests and consign them to the education bin alongside key stage three tests.”