MPs Warn ‘High Stakes’ Testing May Endanger Children’s Mental Health

Amie Sparrow
By Amie Sparrow,
updated on May 21, 2018

MPs Warn ‘High Stakes’ Testing May Endanger Children’s Mental Health

SATs testing may have a negative effect on children’s wellbeing

A cross-party committee of MPs has warned that children are at risk of developing mental health problems over SATs testing and can have a negative effect on children’s education and wellbeing.

The new report calls for an overhaul and suggests a new system be introduced to avoid impact on children’s mental health.

Data released before students sat last year's SATs showed that more than eight in 10 primary school leaders in England see mental health issues increase in pupils during examination periods as well as an increase in fear of academic failure. The report from The Key, which provides leadership and management support to schools, described children sobbing during their reading tests and another child who lost their eyelashes due to exam stress.

Parents of 10 and 11-year olds across the country are preparing to withdraw their children from SATs testing as part of the Let our Kids be Kids campaign. The campaign encourages parents to “stand up for your child” and “protect children from the high stakes testing in primary schools”.

Let our Kids be Kids has posted a letter to use as a downloadable template that parents can use for Year 6 children. The letter outlines the concerns about the SATs tests, due to take place next month, and can be sent to headteachers to either request a discussion about withdrawing a child from testing, or to inform the headteacher that the child will not be attending school because of the parent’s “strong objection to the tests”.

The letter outlines conclusions reached in April last year by the House of Commons Select Committee on Education about SATs and other primary school tests. “The professionals whom I trust to educate my child are deeply concerned about the primary curriculum and the associated tests. It would be irresponsible of me as a parent not to express my concern”, the letter reads. “As my child’s Headteacher I understand that you have a duty of care for my child. I urge you understand my desire to put the wellbeing of children ahead of school data.”

A spokesperson for the campaign told The Independent that thousands of parents have downloaded the template. The spokesperson said there’s a moral basis for boycotting the “high stakes” tests, which are “widely recognised as being pointless and damaging”, adding that parents “want action now”.

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