Education chiefs in Hartlepool look into claims SATs test was too hard

Hartlepool Borough Council are awaiting feedback from schools in the area.
Hartlepool Borough Council are awaiting feedback from schools in the area.

Education chiefs in Hartlepool are looking into claims tests for primary school children were too hard for the age group following a national backlash.

The Key Stage Two English reading test SAT (Standard Assessment Test) on Monday was criticised for being so difficult it risked demoralising pupils.

Some parents said their children struggled to answer questions or finish the test, despite having done so well in previous years.

The exam was taken by pupils aged 10 and 11, and at least two primary school headteachers in England are reported to have written to their pupils, telling them to be happy with their achievements regardless of their results.

Hartlepool Borough Council is to now seek the views of schools in the area on the test.

A spokesman for the council said: “We will be seeking feedback on this week’s SATs tests but at this stage it is too early to gauge overall opinion. These are the first tests under the new national curriculum and we are interested in hearing the views of headteachers, school staff, governors, pupils and parents.”

Nearly 600,000 Year Six pupils are reported to have taken the English reading test, the exact contents of which can not be reported until May 20.

However, teachers have flooded onto online forums to share their views on the questions, and share their pupils’ reactions.

One wrote: “Ridiculous. Very difficult. The ‘easy’ text was harder than the most difficult ones of previous years.

“The nuances and depth of language across the texts baffled many.

“A very divisive test. Those with EAL (English as an additional language) and those for whom high quality language isn’t present at home utterly floundered.”

Another contributor said they were fearing the worst after the “tough” test.

They said: “I can’t believe how many of my kids didn’t even manage to finish the paper.

“The texts weren’t so bad but the questions and the wording of them (vocabulary etc) was like something I have never seen before. I’m staggered.”

A number of parents have also voiced their concerns on a Facebook page belonging to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

One said: “The incompetence of your department beggars belief.

“How dare you make my child, a bright and gifted learner, feel like he has failed.”

Another parent wrote on Mumsnet: “My son was in tears halfway through and didn’t finish it.

“He’s a bright boy and very eloquent but reading has never been his thing.

“He’s so dejected after today.”