SATs exams cancelled for Primary school students this summer

Primary schools are closed in a bid to help contain the virus (Image: PA)

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Primary school students in year six will not have to sit SATs exams this year, Gavin Williamson has confirmed.

Some of the tests for primary school pupils were axed earlier this year, but teachers has been growing increasingly restless about the prospect of pupils in their last year of primary schools sitting the tests this summer.

But updating MPs in the House of Commons on changes to education in England in the wake of the third lockdown, Mr Williamson said: "We won't be proceeding with SATS this year, we do recognise that this will be an additional burden on schools. And it's very important, we're very much focused on welcoming students back into the classroom at the very earliest opportunity."

Last month it was announced that the government had U-turned on its plan to press ahead with all primary assessments in 2021, cancelling key stage 1 SATS.

The DfE has said the majority of key stage 2 SATS would go ahead, despite teaching unions calling for the tests to be scrapped.

But Mr Williamson has now confirmed that they will be shelved.

SATs are standardised assessment tests usually given to primary schools in England to children in Year 2 and Year 6 to check their educational progress.

Mr Williamson updated MPs on plans for education in England in the wake of the third lockdown
(Image: PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

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It comes as Mr Williamson confirmed that GCSE, AS and A-level exams in England this summer will be replaced by school assessments.

Mr Williamson told MPs that the Government will put its “trust in teachers, rather than algorithms”.

The Education Secretary acknowledged that exams are the “fairest way” of assessing what a student knows, but said the impact of the pandemic meant it was not possible to hold exams in the summer.

His comments in the House of Commons came after the Government announced that schools and colleges in England would be closed until mid-February amid the new national lockdown.

The grading of GCSE and A-level students in England became a fiasco last summer when end-of-year exams were cancelled amid school closures.

Thousands of A-level students had their results downgraded from school estimates by a controversial algorithm, before Ofqual announced a U-turn, allowing them to use teachers’ predictions.

But speaking on Wednesday, Mr Williamson said he wishes to use a form of teacher-assessed grades to award results rather than an algorithm.

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