Spotlight on the NUT donation: “The education of the adolescent” by Ernest Salter Davies

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 archive boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one.

Today is the turn of a paper titled The education of the adolescent, which was presented at a Joint meeting of continuative, adult and rural school teachers by Ernest Salter Davies in 1927.

Education of the adolescent

This address, whose author worked as Director of education for Kent during the 1920s and most of the 1930s, focuses on the education of pupils aged 11 and older, while also discussing some of the challenges facing policy makers and offering ideas for possible solutions.

The starting point is a report published by the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education not long before this address was given, which talked about the complexity of post-11 education and stressed that this phase of instruction should be such to encourage the children to continue to be in school up to the age of 15 (at the time, this was only compulsory until the pupil was 14 years old).

While broadly agreeing with the conclusions reached by the report, Davies feels that a suitable curriculum must be developed before the school age can be raised. Also, instead of obliging children to wait until they are 16 to start working (what some of his contemporaries advocated), he is keener on the idea of full-time education lasting until the age of 14, followed by four years of part-time education.

The author also realises that any re-organisation of the system to better cater for adolescent pupils presents some challenges and he highlights two obstacles in particular: an arbitrary division between the various phases of education (primary, secondary and technical) and a system of dual control.

In regards to the first, Davies acknowledges that such division has existed for some time (from before the Education Act of 1902) and artificial barriers that are hard to remove are now in place. In terms of administration, for example, he finds it absurd that two different Local Authorities should be responsible for primary and for post-primary education and instead he proposes a system like the Scottish one, where County Education Committees are in charge of all schools within their area of responsibility, thus striking a balance between over-centralisation and excessive decentralisation.

The second obstacle refers to the fact that voluntary schools (which can be influenced by a trust or foundation when it comes to how they are run) are sometimes unwilling to cooperate with Local Authorities on a variety of matters, therefore changes can be hard to introduce.

The second part of this paper looks at what should be taught in an ideal post-primary school, starting from the premise that education is “a spiritual growth which is never completed, a condition of the spirit developing as the individual develops” and that the curriculum should be a “means of helping pupils, according to their capabilities, to realise themselves”(p. 8).

Davies believes that positive changes are only possible with the support of both parents and employers and once again, he feels that a compromise must be reached, in the sense that education should prepare both for life and for livelihood. Practically, this means developing pupils’ capabilities as much as possible (as stressed by educationalists) but also equipping them for employment by including practical activities. This approach can have two positive consequences: making part-time education past the age of 14 more appealing to pupils, as the gap between Day School and Further Education becomes narrower, and developing ambition and imagination, two qualities that are highly valued by employers.

If you’re interested in finding out more on post-primary education around the time when this address was given, both in the UK and in other countries, the IOE Library collection includes many relevant resources, which are either on the open shelves or can be fetched for you upon request.

The education of the adolescent, like all other items included in this donation, is currently uncatalogued, although this will be the next step in our project. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the contents of the donation, please check our LibGuide.

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Spotlight on the NUT donation: “The rural school in the modern world” by Sir E. John Russell

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 archive boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one.

Today is the turn of The rural school in the modern world, a paper presented at the 1932 NUT conference by Sir E. John Russell, a known agriculturalist who, among other things, actively promoted international information exchange about agriculture. At the time of this conference, he was also director of Rothamsted Experimental Station (now called Rothamsted Research), one of the oldest institutions in the world dedicated to agricultural research.

Rural school in the modern world

The aim of the paper is to offer advice and practical ideas for teachers working in countryside schools so that they can make the most of the resources at their disposal and create interesting and relevant lessons for their pupils. In fact, the author is conscious of the fact that schools can positively influence changes, but it is important that the needs of ordinary pupils, not only a few selected ones, are taken into consideration. In particular, he highlights two main weaknesses in the average young person: fear of the unknown, which explains why the prospect of travelling and finding employment abroad are not as appealing to the new generations as they used to be, and lack of a sense of values.

In contrast, education in rural locations should help forge characters and develop an interest in the surrounding world and in the deeper meaning of life. At the same time, it should equip the child to respond to the challenges thrown at him/her by Nature. These two purposes, one idealistic, one more practical, are not in contrast and often once the first is achieved, the second one will follow.

Arguably, accomplishing these objectives while relying only on the means of a village school can be tricky, however the author offers plenty of ideas to foster children’s development, chiefly by making use of resources found in nature. For example, children should be encouraged to reflect on the topography of the area in which they live and the different types of soils in the nearby fields, with close observation accompanied by testing of various hypotheses and integrated with theoretical lessons in the classroom.

As well as the natural element, the author is keen for pupils to understand how humanity has profoundly shaped the rural landscape over time, for example by reflecting upon any ruins found in the countryside and making advantage of resources found in local museums. The goal is for children to “see themselves as standing between the irretrievable past and the uncontrollable future, yet able in their own generation to improve their lot and dignify their position” (p. 11); in this sense, understanding the impact that our actions can have on future generations is a key lesson to learn.

Ultimately, teachers want to see children prosper and “realise that they live in an infinitely wonderful world, surrounded on every side by things of absorbing interest” (p. 16).

Sir Russell’s paper is one of several items in this donation focusing on rural education, and this reflects the importance of this area of study among educationalists. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that the IOE collection already holds many resources dedicated to the organisation of countryside schools in the UK and abroad.

More recent items are also available via DERA, our institutional repository of official publications in the areas of children, training and skills; these, however, tend to focus on the issues linked to rural education. A report published by the Commission for Rural Communities in 2013, for example, looks at the challenges encountered by young people living in the countryside when it comes to education and employment, reaching the conclusion that transport, training support and youth services are the main areas in need of intervention. Similarly, the isolation of provider and learner and the costs of reaching remote locations are identified as significant barriers to rural education in a 2002 publication by the Learning and Skills Council.

The rural school in the modern world, like all the other items included in the NUT donation, is currently uncatalogued, although this will be the next step in our project. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the contents of the donation, please check our LibGuide.

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Spotlight on the NUT donation: “Discipline in schools”

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 archive boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one.

Today is the turn of Discipline in schools, a report produced by the NUT Working Party for the Union’s annual conference in 1976. This is not only an exhaustive document covering many of the issues involved in the management of children’s behaviour in schools, but also very current, as demonstrated by the fact that the Department for Education (DfE) continues to release new guidance on discipline at least every couple of years.

Discipline in schools

The aim of this report is to identify the factors affecting children’s behaviour, discuss the positive influence that educators can have on it and finally offer suggestions for improvement. The starting point is a definition of school discipline, which can be explained as “the pattern of relationships adopted by the teacher in order to establish and maintain the authority needed by him in carrying out his work as a teacher” (p. 5), thus promoting effective learning, before the focus of the publication shifts to the identification of the various factors that can negatively impact on pupils’ behaviour.

The home environment is highlighted as a major influence, and while the authors of the report are keen to stress that not all children from deprived backgrounds necessarily struggle with discipline, they also point out that families under stress due to financial and emotional issues may not be the ideal setting to prepare children for the outside world. Additionally, it appears that there is a close link between parents’ level of interest in their children’s learning and how well these do in school.

Other factors, however, are independent from a pupil’s home situation and instead related to the school setting. For example, the higher the number of students in a classroom is, the harder it is for teachers to deal with them, so staffing plays an important role in behaviour management. Similarly, the school building has to be conducive to teaching and learning and there must be enough available resources (for example books) to motivate children. Finally, the curriculum itself can profoundly affect discipline, as the authors note not only that children who struggle to keep up in the classroom are more likely to become distracted, but also that repeated failure in school can cause stress in the pupil and lead to indiscipline.

Teachers’ pastoral care duty ultimately means establishing “friendly but firm” relationships with the students, ensuring that these feel a sense of belonging to the school and are involved in any decisions that affect them. Whenever problems arise, it is important to lower tensions as much as possible and have different strategies for intervention in place, according to the seriousness of the incident. Some of the solutions mentioned in the report, for example corporal punishment, are now considered unacceptable and no longer practised, but the majority are still widely used by schools; these may include detention, exclusion areas within the school premises, withdrawal from school, suspension and finally exclusion.

Despite the authors stressing that all procedures should be approached carefully, often with the support of the local authority, they remain controversial steps to take and some have received a fair amount of press coverage in recent times, highlighting once more how current this topic is. For example, as well as the launch by DfE of a consultation on procedures and responsibilities around school exclusion in March 2017, Times Educational Supplement (TES) reported in September that the number of pupils permanently denied readmission to school ‘skyrocketed’ in the last couple of years due to lack of funds needed to effectively support pupils and the tendency by some schools to resort to this means as a way to improve their overall performance. Finally, a report published by Ofsted a few months ago revealed that “unofficial exclusions” were used in several occasions to cope with students with special educational needs, despite this being illegal; in contrast, the authors of our NUT report highlight the importance of giving SEND learners “special and individual attention” (p. 20).

The IOE library is home to many resources on school discipline, all of which can be found using our discovery tool, Explore. Unfortunately this NUT report, like all the others included in the same donation, is currently uncatalogued, however this will be the next step in our project. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the contents of the donation, please check our LibGuide.

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Spotlight on the NUT Donation: ‘The New Importance of Adult Education’: Sir Fred Clarke

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 pamphlet boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one.

Today is the turn of an address to the Conference of Higher Education Members of the NUT given by Sir Fred Clarke, the Director of the University of London Institute of Education at Friend’s House, Euston Road London in January 1945.

Friends House

Entrance to Friends House Euston Road. (cc-by-sa/2.0 – © PAUL FARMER – geograph.org.uk/p/1599592)

Sir Fred Clarke was the Director of the Institute of Education between 1936 and 1945, you can browse a list of his published works, including Education and Social Change: an English interpretation  via UCL Explore here and more information on the Sir Fred Clarke Archives are available via LibGuides. A biography was written by Professor Frank Mitchell and published in 1967. Further information on the Clarke Special Collections held here in the Library can also be found on this LibGuide.

The address delivered to the NUT is titled “The New Importance of Adult Education” and Clarke begins by framing the debate internationally, suggesting that the situation that society found itself at the time of the address was in part due to the ‘cultural aftermath of scientific revolution’ (p. 6).

Fred Clarke

During the address Clarke refers to a ‘cultural lag’ whereby society changes its habits at a slower pace than the rate of technical change. Clarke identifies the need for the development of a new culture to alleviate the problems caused by this phenomenon and this would be facilitated in part by the development of universal adult education.

Clarke’s membership of ‘The Moot‘, a private discussion group whose members included T.S Eliot, Karl Mannheim and R.H Tawney reflects the depth of his interest in post-war social reconstruction. Clarke hoped that a ‘new order’ would see the creation of an educational philosophy that ‘maintains and enlarges freedom’ and in this address he argued that a system of education needed to be developed which ensured freedom from totalitarianism in the future and argued that this could not be achieved through school and university alone, it required education to continue ‘well into the adult field’ (p. 9).

Clarke envisioned a society characterised by a shared set of values and a sense of community and achieving this would require some form of continued education for all. He pointed out that there were clear differences from school education in both organisation and provision and argued that this universal and continuing adult education should have a basis in the community – specifically within Community Centres.

Clarke was keen not to restrict the idea of adult education to the technical and whilst praising the civic value of courses in politics, sociology and economics run by organisations such as the Workers’ Educational Association, Clarke was also clear that education needed to supply an element of moral education which emphasised a sense of duty in its citizens.

This broader moral education includes a recommendation for the study of modern languages and literatures and as such demonstrates Clarke’s internationalist approach to education. Moreover, Clarke highlights ‘the bracing and steadying effect’ of the study of the arts and crafts. He paints the picture of the rewards gained from the ability of an individual to go into a workshop after a day on the factory line and engage in an activity in which the individual has total control. This renewed sense of individual control was important in a society that had undergone such turmoil and strain.

Finally, a few short lines towards the close of the speech echo down the years, demonstrating that although society has altered drastically, we still seem to be battling the same ‘cultural lag’ brought about by rapid technical advances, perhaps leading us to wonder whether a renewed commitment to lifelong learning might be due…

We are living in a highly mobile world, we are in constant movement ourselves, and we are exposed to the solicitations of every passing stimulus. There is a tendency to “over-simplify” and “over-bittify” everything […] the level on which we live is steadily getting more and more superficial.’

(p. 12)

If you’d like to find out more about other items received in the NUT donation, please see our LibGuide.

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Spotlight on the NUT donation: “Billeting in brief: the care of children in time of war” by F. Mander and J. G. Browne

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 archive boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one.

Today is the turn of Billeting in brief: the care of children in time of war, written by Frederick Mander and J. G. Browne and jointly published by the NUT and the Save the Children Fund in 1939.

Billeting in brief

The booklet was produced with the aim of providing guidance on all aspects of children’s evacuation (also referred to as ‘billeting’) from the cities (deemed to be particularly vulnerable in case of bombing) to rural locations, from transport and household allocation to payments to the hosting families, food suggestions and much more.

It is significant that at a time when war had still not been declared (Germany would invade Poland, an event which marked the beginning of the hostilities, roughly two months after this booklet was written, with Great Britain joining in the conflict a few days later), the possibility that the country might find itself being attacked by the Germans already seemed possible and efforts were being made to prepare for it.

This point is discussed in the booklet’s introduction, where the authors explain that their decision to discuss this controversial topic at that particular time is not motivated by a belief that war is inevitable, but due to the fact that (and here they quote the 1924’s Declaration of the Rights of the Child) it is “mankind’s duty to assure to all children, without distinction of race, nationality, or creed, the best that we have to give”.

In fact, the evacuation of thousands of British children (as well as some groups of adults) became a reality in September 1939, with two more waves of ‘migrations’ in 1940 and 1944. Parents were not forced to send their kids away, but this was encouraged by the Government.

The booklet is composed of three main sections: preparations before moving the children to the countryside, arrangements for when they arrived at destination and finally plans to ensure that their lives away from home, including their education, were organised appropriately.

The first section covers a range of recommendations, such as the things that children needed to carry with them. And so we find out, for example, that a gas mask and a packet of food for the journey were considered essential items, while a change of underwear or a toothbrush were not.

The move to the assigned destinations was facilitated by teachers, who, unlike the parents, travelled with their pupils. The hosting families needed to declare in advance how much space, including number of beds, they could offer, and were responsible for feeding the children (for which they received regular payments), but not for providing them with clothes or medicines should they fall ill; overall, efforts were made to keep disruption in the household to a minimum.

Teachers played a very important role at all stages of the evacuation and continued to educate their own students once they were in the countryside, using suitable buildings that were made available for this purpose and sometimes improvising outdoor classes if the weather allowed it. However, as the only adults that children knew from their previous life in the city, they were also responsible for ensuring pupils’ smooth transition to their new homes and encouraged to participate in a variety of extra-extracurricular activities. Although these would be considered a ‘labour of love’ (p. 11) as no formal remuneration was expected, the NUT was confident, at the time the booklet was written, that most teachers would happily take part.

Mander and Browne aim to be comprehensive in their guidance, also talking about physically and/or mentally disabled children as well those under the age of five; for all of them, suitable arrangements needed to be made, including, for example, giving them the possibility of being accompanied by their mothers.

Finally, the booklet’s three appendices offer food suggestions and ideas for meals depending on the age of the children, going into quite a bit of detail: the thickness of a slice of bread, for example, is discussed. This section is particularly useful to rediscover various foods that have now gone out of fashion, such as suet pudding, sago, bread and dripping and Parrish’s food, an iron-based supplement used in combination with cod liver oil to increase the child’s appetite.

Children’s evacuations during the Second World War directly affected millions of people, who were involved in the process in different ways. At the time, a Committee on Evacuation was created to ensure smooth operations and both the Ministry of Education and the Board of Education produced guidance in the form of circulars and memoranda, many of which are available in our Official Publications Collection. Our Curriculum Resources also comprise numerous publications on this topic, including novels set in that period. Poignant footage of the events of those years is also available online.

Billeting in brief: the care of children in time of war, like all the other items included in the NUT donation, is currently uncatalogued, although this will be the next step in our project. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the contents of the donation, please check our LibGuide.

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Spotlight on the NUT donation: “Why electricity need not be a closed book for girls by Miss Caroline Haslett”

ELECTRICITYLast winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 pamphlet boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

 

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one. Today is the turn of Why electricity need not be a closed book for girls by Miss Caroline Haslett, C.B.E., Companion I.E.E. (Director ,The Electrical Association for Women). This was an Address delivered to the meeting of Domestic Science Teachers at the Portsmouth Conference of the N.U.T. 1937.

In general scientific, engineering and mechanical subjects were not taught to girls. However during the First World War when women, out of necessity, worked in these areas, many found they enjoyed the subjects and had a natural aptitude for them. In 1919 the Women‘s Engineering Society (WES) was set up to maintain and further the position of women in the fields of science and engineering.

It is important to remember that even in 1937 many women did not work outside the home, this perhaps goes some way towards explaining the emphasis placed on the use of electricity in a domestic setting. Girls would be aware of the influence of electricity in ever day life because it was used “in industry, commerce, transport, telephone and wireless communication and in that great further extension of television”.  The novelty of electricity in the home is highlighted by the fact that a reliable national electricity supply was only provided by the National Grid completed in 1933 as part of the Electricity (Supply) Act 1926.

Household tasks of washing and ironing clothes, cleaning floors, washing-up, laying of fires and carrying coal were dreary, time consuming and tiring. Caroline Haslett wanted the housewife be able to use electrical appliances so “that while performing her household duties with greater ease and efficiency, she will have time to extend her interests to cultural and aesthetic pursuits”.

The intended audience of Domestic Science Teachers was an apt one because as Caroline Haslett said “the book of electricity cannot be kept shut to girls but it remains to teach them to read it intelligently”. Help was available to teachers from the ‘Electrical Association for Women’ (1924-1986) (EAW) which was formed to educate women (and others) about “all aspects of electrical technology and its domestic use”. The E.A.W. provided wall charts, booklets and books, organised lectures and visits and Summer Schools for Domestic Science Teachers. Teachers could study for the E.A.W. Certificate and Diploma in electrical home craft. In general women could take advantage of new career opportunities by studying for the E.A.W.’s Diploma for Demonstrators and Saleswomen. Some women even travelled around the country in caravans to spread the advantages of the use of electricity as widely as possible.

The author of this address, Miss Caroline Haslett, is a fascinating woman. She was born in Worth, West Sussex in 1895. An early interest in engineering was sparked by helping her father who was a railway signal fitter and activist for the co-operative movement. An understanding of how tiring housework could be was gained from observing her own mother. After leaving school Caroline took a secretarial course and became a clerk with the Cochrane Boiler Company. During the First World War Caroline gained some engineering experience at Cochrane’s in London and at Annan in Dumfriesshire. In 1919 she left to become the first secretary of the WES and the first editor of the Women Engineer Journal. In 1924 Caroline co-founded and became the first director of the E.A.W. In 1925 the WES, and Caroline, gained wider recognition when they organised a conference at Wembley in association with the First International Conference of Women in Science, Industry and Commerce. Haslett was the sole woman delegate to the World Power Conference in Berlin in1930. Electric light helped to prevent domestic accidents and had a positive psychological benefit which was important to Caroline who, in 1932, was appointed chair of the Home Safety Committee of the National Safety First Association (the forerunner of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents).It was an appointment that, during the Second World War, led to Caroline being the only woman member ( and safety expert) on the 20-person committee convened by the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) to look at the requirements for electrical installations in a post-war Britain.

Caroline’s received official recognition for her services to women when in 1931 she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She was elected a Companion of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) in 1932 and for her work during the War she was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In the same year,1947, she was honoured to become the first woman member of the British Electrical Authority(BEA). Despite her busy professional life Caroline remained a keen amateur botanist and in 1952 a white iris was named Dame Caroline in her honour.

Today Caroline Haslett is remembered by the Women’s Engineering Society’s (WES) Caroline Haslett Lecture and there is a Caroline Haslett Primary School in Milton Keynes. It is a sobering thought that despite the hard work of pioneers such as Caroline Haslett there is still an ongoing struggle for girls and women who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects at school and career choices.

This item, like all the others included in this donation, is currently uncatalogued, although this will be the next step in our project. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the contents of the donation, please check our LibGuide.

 

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Spotlight on the NUT donation:“Miss, the rabbit ate the ‘floating ‘apple! The case against SATs. A Report on the 1991 Key Stage 1 SATs by the National Union of Teachers.”

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 pamphlet boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one. Today is the turn of:

 “Miss, the rabbit ate the ‘floating ‘apple! The case against SATs. A Report on the 1991 Key Stage 1 SATs by the National Union of Teachers.”

This report on SATs was published following the introduction of a National Curriculum to schools in England and Wales under the Education Reform Act 1988. The curriculum was rolled out from 1989 and the statutory assessments were introduced between 1991 and 1995. Only the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science were to be assessed. First assessments at Key Stage 1 (Year 2 children aged 6/7) were a range of cross-curricular tasks to be delivered in the classroom, known as Standardised Assessment Tasks – hence the common acronym SATs.

After the 1991 ’full trial’ of the SATs, the NUT wanted to find out about teachers’ experiences of running the tests. A questionnaire was included in the Union’s National Curriculum Newsletter which was sent to every school. Replies were received from 2550 teachers in 1750 schools (not all of whom were members of NUT). The survey was designed to create as little extra work for Year 2 teachers as possible and consisted mainly of Yes/No answers and/or ticks in boxes. However detailed visits were paid to 13 schools whilst they were administering the SATs. Many teachers also submitted comprehensive written comments.

NUT recognised that the teachers had worked hard to give the SATs a fair trial. Teachers wanted their experiences to be noted, and hopefully acted upon, so that future teachers of Year 2 pupils would not have to use unworkable forms of assessment.

The questions were designed to understand more about how much classroom time SATs took to administer and whether it was possible for the SATs to be conducted by a single teacher working alone. In addition related questions were asked about the cost of conducting the SATs, the perceived impact on pupils and parents and, perhaps most importantly “Were the SATs worth doing?”

The main findings of the report concluded that:

  • The average time needed to complete the SATs was 52 hours rather than the government assessment of 30 hours
  • 95% of teachers reported that SATs told them nothing about pupils that they did not already know
  • More than 90% of the teachers said that the SATs prevented normal activities in Year 2 or other classes. In combination with the reallocation of teacher and ancillary staff within schools this indicates that the SATs have caused massive disruption of schools.
  • The SATs did not meet the requirement that they be suitable for a” single teacher working alone”. Nine out of 10 teachers had extra help allocated to them to enable them to conduct the SATs. Three quarters of that support was taken away from other school activities or other classes; the remainder being bought in.
  • The SATs were unsuitable for bilingual pupils, pupils with learning difficulties and pupils with special needs.

 

The overwhelming conclusion reached by the respondents to the survey was that SATs had been difficult to operate in the classroom and were not highly valued by teachers as adding to their knowledge of their pupils.

Teachers wanted changes to be made to the national assessment system and wanted to be involved in designing an alternative that would “better meet the needs of pupils, supports teachers in planning their future teaching, and provides meaningful information to parents and future teachers”.

Changes were made to the original SATs which were replaced by more formal tasks with an additional strand of Teacher Assessment. Over the years adjustments have been made to reflect changes in the National Curriculum. In 2008 it was announced that the testing at Key Stage 3 was to be scrapped. A new version of the National Curriculum was introduced into schools in 2014. SATs are still a highly controversial subject and a subject of a long running campaign by NUT.

Over 2,300 members responded to the NUT survey on the experience of primary assessment in 2017. The results were presented in the report Summer Term 2017 The SATs effect: teachers’ verdict

Once again the whole experience is generally regarded as a negative one:

“The results showed the damaging impact that the system of assessment for school accountability purposes is having on teachers, schools and children. This is particularly exacerbated by the funding crisis currently facing schools”.

However the NUT did present an alternative in its publication of More than a score. Assessment: the alternative

The SATs have been a much discussed topic from the outset and this report “Miss, the rabbit ate the ‘floating ‘apple!” gives us an insight to the roots of a controversy that is still the subject of much debate and argument.

This item, like all the others included in this donation, is currently uncatalogued, although this will be the next step in our project. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the contents of the donation, please check our LibGuide.

 

 

 

 

 

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