SATs 2021 scrapped. What’s next?
Campaign school census / January 6, 2021
We welcome the decision to scrap SATs in 2021, announced by the Secretary of State this afternoon in the House of Commons.
[18:00 6/01/2021 added sentence with publication of DfE statement. “Statutory key stage 1 and key stage 2 tests and teacher assessments planned for summer 2021, including the key stage 2 tests in reading and mathematics, will not take place.”]
Last summer, we called on the Department for Education to place a moratorium on the school accountability system and league tables because pupil data continue to be affected by COVID-19, making comparable outcomes and competitive measures meaningless and misleading.
We want to see the same pause across all standardised testing. The Early Years attainment profile, Key Stage One SATs, Phonics Tests, Key Stage Two SATS. Reception Baseline Test is not fit for purpose and should be stopped indefinitely, alongside the Multiplications Times Tables Check.
All of these standardised tests and more, get collected at named pupil level and sent to the Department for Education creating millions of individual pupil records, kept forever in the National Pupil Database. Despite the ICO compulsory audit finding that DfE are not fulfilling their duties that data “shall be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner,” the Department appears to want to carry on with business as usual.
The Department for Education, still gives away millions of people’s named, sensitive and identifying records to companies and other third-parties from national pupil data created from these tests and school censuses, without people’s knowledge or consent. Since 2012, millions of identifying records have been given away in each of over 2,000 releases, with over a third for commercial reuse, as well as to think thanks, charities, academics and journalists, — leaving aside other government department misuses — according to our latest calculations through June 2020.
We expect a formal response in January from the DfE on the ICO audit, and its very significant and substantial shortcomings. We want answers on the LRS gambling companies’ investigation. And these answers should come before any new national collections.
We’ve asked the Department whether it plans to proceed with the School Census, Alternative Provision and Early Years censuses due to start on January 21st. And if they proceed, does the DfE really think they can go ahead distributing data despite the ICO findings on unlawful practice?
We say, no. It’s unsafe, unaccountable and unlawful.
Write to your MP and tell them so. Find out what’s in your own or your child’s records. Take Action. These are your records, your rights.