DfE intervention following parents’ complaints about this year’s SATs – Friday 12 May 2017

In a quiet week in the run up to the General Election I report on the DfE’s monitoring of social media to prevent parents from revealing some of the question in this year’s SATs papers and the publication of the APPG for Education’s report on how well schools prepare children for the future.

DfE’s intervention follows parents’ complaints on social media about questions in this week’s SATs assessments
Parents have been reprimanded online by the Department for Education (DfE) for tweeting answers from their children’s SATs exams. This week, Year 6 children have been taking tests in reading, spelling, punctuation and grammar (Spag) and maths.

0fficials appear to be monitoring social media in a bid to clamp down on cheating. The DfE’s official Twitter account has warned against publishing answers, as some Key Stage 2 pupils are still due to sit the assessments.  It wrote: “Some children will be taking the KS2 tests next week using timetable variations. Please help us to keep the test content secure. Thank you.”

The plea followed a series of interventions against disgruntled parents who had aired concerns about questions in the tests.

APPG for Education report – schools preparing children for the future
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Education has published a report on their inquiry on how well schools prepare children for their future.

Examining changes in the labour market and the necessity for basic literacy and numeracy skills, the report emphasises the need for children and young people to also have “soft skills, character and resilience” as well as the increasing demand for skilled STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workers.

The report also explores the importance of high quality employer engagement, work experience, and careers education in terms of “levelling the playing field” for young people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The inquiry found that that a rising number of schools were struggling with increasingly limited resources, meaning that time and money are not being focused on areas crucial for a young person’s future life chances, such as good quality careers guidance or “soft skills development”.

The inquiry recommendations include:

  • that the Government reinstates mandatory work experience
  • careers advice and guidance should always be provided by a “qualified, independent and impartial counsellor”
  • children with SEND must be “more visible in debates around careers provision”
  • the Government should allocate additional resources to schools for the explicit purpose of providing careers advice