Should SATs be Axed?

Love them or hate them, SATs hold schools to account but are they driving poor practice and the wrong behaviour? Are these just unnecessary tests that simply need removing?

During last night’s Sky News paper review, Jenny Kleeman revealed that her 5-year-old son was being taught to write in pre-cursive script to join up his handwriting before he could form his letters correctly in order to pass the test.

This is the elephant in the room that everyone acknowledges; it is not the correct way to teach handwriting yet no one, including Damian Hinds the Secretary of State for Education, seems able to prevent it from happening.

Anyone who has ever met me will know how passionate I am for teaching letter formation correctly.  Many schools wrongly state that teaching a pre cursive script from reception is a government directive rolled out nationally. It is not! Government policy in the current National Curriculum states that schools should teach letter formation correctly. The pre-cursive script is not ‘correctly’.

The over emphasis on writing in a cursive script to meet the assessment criteria is reckless and absurd. It causes a myriad of problems further down the road with reading and writing ability, especially at secondary school when the emphasis is on legibility. The magnitude of this problem will be greater once the baseline assessments are introduced for every reception class. This test-driven practice of teaching cursive at all costs is damaging the love of writing and should be removed immediately.

The mis-selling of a pre cursive script with an entry or lead-in stroke:


  • It is NOT quicker and does not improve writing speed
  • It is NOT easier for children with learning difficulties
  • It is NOT easier for left-handers
  • It is NOT easier to learn
  • It DOES NOT improve spelling
  • It DOES NOT eliminate letter reversals

Would scrapping SATs eliminate the curse of this cursive for all children, or are the different styles and systems now so deeply embedded in teaching practice that this poor writing practice is here to stay?

Change will only happen if YOU demand change!

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