ASCL comment on Key Stage 2 SATs results

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the publication of Key Stage 2 SATs results.
“Congratulations to schools, teachers and pupils on this set of Key Stage 2 results and the huge efforts that have gone into addressing the disruptive impact of the pandemic on learning.
“It is hardly surprising the percentage of pupils meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and maths is lower than it was before the pandemic. It illustrates the very difficult circumstances affecting schools and pupils over the past two years, and it is to their immense credit that, within this overall statistic, reading attainment has actually increased despite the disruption of Covid.
“The fact that maths and writing are down is very likely to reflect the huge importance of direct classroom teaching in these subjects – which has, of course, been heavily disrupted.
“These statistics also show how far we will need to go to achieve the government’s target of 90% of pupils meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and maths by 2030. It is clear that this will require substantial investment in schools and the teaching workforce to enable them to deliver specialised support to the children who need extra help. However, the government’s plans contain no additional resources so it is hard to see how this can possibly be achieved.
“It is also clear that the pandemic has affected schools to widely varying extents and in this context we have urged the government not to use these results to compare schools. It has agreed not to publish performance league tables but it has nevertheless insisted upon supplying school-level results to Ofsted as part of the inspection process. We do not think it can possibly be fair to judge schools on this basis as it is a judgement that could be based more on the impact of the pandemic than it is on the performance of the school.”