Key Stage 2 success and future at Farlington

November 2, 2016

At Farlington, an all-through, girls’ independent school, our Year 6 pupils are entered for the Government’s end of Key Stage 2 standard assessment tests in maths, reading and grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Despite all of last year’s controversies surrounding these, including the revised, demanding and fact-heavy curriculum, we still went ahead: instructing, supporting and preparing the girls for ‘SATs’, as they are commonly known. So why exactly did we choose to put girls through a set of tests which, as non-maintained sector pupils, they are not required to undertake?

Sitting SATs has become a ‘rite of passage’ for 10- and 11-year-old children in this country. Results should give comparable measures of standards, right across the country.

Whilst we acknowledge that we do not take part in the moderation of our results, the girls and their parents get a firm indication of just how well they are doing compared to others of their age. Students learn how to revise and prepare for the sorts of high-stakes testing that they will meet later on, at GCSE and A Level. Preparing for SATs keeps all the girls working hard towards an important summer goal.

It challenges many and, in the past, has allowed the very high achievers to excel. With no possibility now of scoring Level 6, however, there is less of a case for taking the tests and we shall need to decide whether to replace the Government tests with an assessment more fit for purpose.

Whilst the tests assess children against a national standard, results look different this year from previous years and cannot be compared directly; they have been reported using a scaled score instead of Levels, with a mark of 100 or more meaning, ‘working at or above the expected standard in the subject’.

Despite not taking part in the moderation process, 77.4% of our girls gained above threshold in all three of this year’s SATs tests, comparing very favourably with the national statistic for this same achievement of 53%.

As yet the DFE has published very little information as to their view of the overall results for the new format SATs, but with more than ¾ of our girls gaining above the threshold for all three tests, this certainly must merit congratulations for our Prep School pupils’  and teachers’ fine efforts.