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There's a growing trend of primary schools running Easter holiday revision classes for formal tests, known as Sats, a teachers' union says.The NASUWT union says "cramming sessions" are becoming more common in schools ahead of the tests sat in May.It says children should not be in school over the holidays, but should be spending time with their families.Ministers say the tests are an important way of holding primary schools in England to account.The results of Sats tests taken by 11-year-olds are published each year in primary school league tables, published by the Department for Education.
Darren Northolt, the NASUWT's national official for education, said it was the pressure of accountability that was leading schools to open up for Year 6 pupils over the holidays."Schools think that this is going to give them an edge in getting the results they need - so that's the driver," Mr Northolt said at the union's annual conference in Belfast."It seems like an ill-conceived response to this pressure."He said that while attendance at the Easter booster sessions he was aware of was voluntary, it was not clear what sort of message parents were being sent.
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Do Sats really matter - and if so, to whom"But they should also be doing enjoyable, engaging things in their own time, with their own friends, spending time with their families, which is all a critical part of a healthy childhood."General secretary Chris Keates said: "The growing trend of Easter Sats classes in primary schools is a worrying reflection of the high-stakes accountability regime they operate in."Children should be spending Easter with their families and friends, not cramming for Sats."Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said: "Our pupils are the most tested in the world, but there is no evidence that the current high-stakes testing regime improves teaching and learning."Last week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced he would scrap Sats if his party came to power, saying the move would help improve teacher recruitment and retention.Instead, Labour would introduce alternative assessments which would be based on "the clear principle of understanding the learning needs of every child," he said.But Schools Minister Nick Gibb said abolishing Sats would be "a retrograde step".He said the move would "keep parents in the dark" by preventing from knowing how good their child's school is at teaching maths, reading and writing.
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