Labour education U-turn scraps Sats tests for 14-year-olds
Twelve years after it was instituted, the stage three tests in the UK for 14-year-olds has been scrapped. It's a U-turn for Labour, which has supported the reforms, instituted by the Tories in the early '90s, for many years. The tests were a crucial part in determining a students future secondary school and university education. Such assessments at a young age are common in Europe.
The government yesterday abolished Sats examinations for 14-year-olds in a move triggered by the collapse of this year's marking process and a string of high profile reports critical of the tests.
The reforms mean pupils will no longer have to sit externally marked tests at the age of 14, but ministers have insisted that the more controversial tests for primary school pupils will continue.
The schools secretary, Ed Balls, yesterday told parliament of his plans for sweeping changes to the national testing system which effectively overturned 15 years of education policy. At present, 1.2 million pupils sit 9.5 million papers every year, but the plans cut the testing burden on schools in half.
The Balls plans also include a new "report card", based on a New York scheme, which will grade every school in England and give more information for parents on which to judge schools.