SAT Time Again

SATs is a great topic for us to ask about, because EVERYONE has a view on them! Almost everyone can think of a way to make them better, but nobody can agree what is best to do.

The nice thing about Teacher Tapp is that our sample is now large enough to look at the views of people who are teaching different primary year groups.

Replacing SATs with a teacher-moderated assessment is a popular option, except with Year 6 teachers, who would actually have to assess the work! For them, keeping some sort of tests at age 11 is more popular than other options.

Among secondary teachers, maths and science ones like tests, and perhaps think the maths SATs papers aren’t so bad.

But secondary English teachers are less in love with tests. Perhaps they appreciate some of the problems with the reading comprehension paper? Or with SPAG?

Where do you put your best teachers?

If you were a primary headteacher, would you put your ‘best’ teachers into Year 6? A majority of primary teachers think their own head might have done this – and the headteachers say a similar thing too!

What about the teachers who are actually delivering SATs in Years 6 and 2?

Well, it turns out they’re pretty confident that they’ve been placed there because they are great!

Who’d want to teach in Year 6 anyway?

Would you want the pressure of teaching in a SATs year?

When we compared the year group primary teachers would like to teach next year, compared to who they are currently teaching, we find that staying put is very popular! Reception teachers overwhelmingly want to stick where they are. And two-thirds of those currently teaching Year 6 want to stay, too. A small chunk of Year 4 and 5 teachers would like to give Year 6 a go too. It’s our Year 3 teachers who are least committed to their current year group.

Primary schools serving different types of communities

Over the Easter holidays, dozens of primary teachers got in touch with questions for us to ask. You asked us about parents evening attendance, and forest school provision, and the responses to both reveal the differences across schools that serve different communities.

Parents evening attendance at schools were few people are on free meals, or in independent schools, tends to be 100% or close to 100%.

Some schools that serve high FSM communities really do struggle to get parents to come to parents evening, however. Among this group just 6% reported 100% attendance (against 34% in the independent sector).

You also wanted to know about forest school provision, which is another area where there are slight differences across types of schools.

Again, schools that serve high FSM communities are less likely to have forest school provision in place.

This probably relates to the urban density of the school site. Schools in cities are more likely to have deprived intakes. However, there’s also a regional dimension to the differences. London schools, for example, appear to have more access than those in Yorkshire/Humber.

Budget cuts hitting staffing arrangements

Throughout the 2000s, if a teacher was given extra responsibilities they were typically given something called a ‘TLR point’ which gave extra salary. In the current era of tight budgets and re-done wage scales for academies this system has changed in many schools. So who does these extra tasks?

One teacher wrote to ask us if there was now a trend to have additional responsibilities but not receive any pay OR time off their timetable?

Primary teachers are particularly asked to take on extra responsibilities without being compensated in time or cash. A whopping 29% are in this boat, along with 12% who get money but no time, and a further 15% who get time but not money.

Secondary colleagues have it easier, with a massive 52% of you having a school responsibility which gives you more salary and time to do it.

Among our users there were also major concerns that more experienced, and therefore expensive, teachers are being encouraged to leave in order to make space for cheaper staff.

When we asked, 11% of you were confident this happened in your school.

BUT… we expected to see this more at schools that are cash constrained (i.e. affluent schools) and didn’t

People claim they are seeing it more in HIGH FSM schools with low Ofsted grades. So is it possible that the teachers might have actually been moved on for performance reasons?

Finally, we know you love the tips, so here they are for last week…


And don’t forget to tell your teaching colleagues all about Teacher Tapp!

We’ve even got a poster to put in your staffroom.

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