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EDITIONS
Breakfast Monday, 12 May, 2003, 04:49 GMT 05:49 UK
Too much, too young?
graphic of school tests
Catch up with our full week's coverage on this page
For many families in England, this week will be hell.

Children as young as seven will be sitting their SATS - formal tests in reading, English and Maths. And the results may have a big impact on their school careers.

  • In a special series this week on Breakfast, we've been hearing from some of those sitting the tests, aged seven, 11 and 14.

    We've been finding out whether they matter - and asking whether it's time the system changed.

  • On Thursday we put some of your concerns on school tests to the Education Secretary Charles Clarke. You'll find full details further down this page

  • Today we looked at whether we can learn anything from how other countries teach their children.

  • Click on the links below for the highlights from the rest of the week.


  • Monday May 12: stress

    We spoke to Margaret Morrissey of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations and one mother, Rosemary Boyle, whose children are sitting SATS this week.


    Margaret Morrissey said that although it is important to test children to measure progress, those tests shouldn't be allowed to stress children.

    It's not acceptable that we're putting any sort of stress on a seven year old

    And mother Rosemary Boyle said that it was important children know what the tests are about.

    Both agreed that the exams had a tendency to take the fun out of school - especially in the run up to the tests, and leave less time for activities such as music and dance.

    See below for tips on dealing with exam stress in small children.


    Tuesday May 13: Why Scotland is a SATs-free zone

    SATS have been abolished in Wales - and in Scotland the system has always been different. We asked a headteacher from England and one from Scotland to compare the two systems.



    Wednesday May 14: time to abolish SATs?

    Should we abandon SATs, especially for the youngest pupils, who may still only be six years old when they take the tests?

    We spoke to David Harte, from the National Association of Headteachers - he believes that SATs are too much for seven year olds and the case for taking them at 11 is also questionable.

    But Katie Ivens, of the Campaign for Real Education, believes the tests perform a vital role in ensuring that all primary school children learn how to read, write and add up.


    Katie Ivens stayed on, to debate whether children are put under too much pressure with a child psychologist, Ruth Coppard



    Thursday May 15: Charles Clarke

    We put some of your concerns about SATs to the Education Secretary Charles Clarke on Thursday's programme.

    He argued that the new SATs tests had been vital in making Britain's primary education system the third best in the world.

    But, he did add that the Department for Education is discussing whether it's possible to make more room for teacher assessments of seven year olds.



    Friday May 16: Another way

    Can we learn anything from the way other countries teach their children?

    Today we looked at how other countries teach their young people, we spoke to teachers at a Norwegian and Japanese school based in London and Buckinghamshire.

    In Tokyo children are often tested from the age of four, while children in Norwegian schools can accumulate days off if they stay on for extra classes.


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    07 May 03 | Education
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