More tests for younger children - the ACP responds

Primary school pupils in England are set to face more formal tests at the age of seven - according to the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan. She also wants to recruit a pool of "elite teachers" for struggling schools. Mrs Morgan announced a package of measures aimed at tackling underachievement, with a target of 90% of all pupils taking core academic subjects at GCSE.

She said that more "robust and rigorous" checks on progress at the age of seven would help ensure that all pupils had "mastered the basics" before they left primary school. As well as the "baseline tests" when pupils start in Reception and national curriculum tests, often known as Sats, taken at the age of 11, the government is now looking at introducing tests at the young age of seven. 

Heather Stewart, ACP Chair is concerned about the impact this will have on children and young people already feeling the strain. 

"It is ironic that we are treating more and more teenagers in CAMHS for anxiety and depression linked to exam stress and yet the government is considering bringing back further testing for even younger children. The ACP would encourage Mrs Morgan to consider the mental health and emotional needs of children in any thinking about education strategy."

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:

"It is quite staggering the degree to which the government is unable to understand how their approach to the measurement of the performance of schools, and the system as a whole, is turning schools into exam factories." He added that children in England are "the most excessively tested children in the whole of Europe".

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