Education campaigner clashes with Julia Hartley-Brewer over SATs

'There is a toxic link between SATs and judging schools', says campaign group Rescue Our Schools

Madeleine Holt says SATs tests are too hard (Stock image)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A leading education campaigner has blasted Michael Gove for "making tests harder" and said SATs are a poor way to judge children in a feisty interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer.

Madeleine Holt, co-founder of state education campaign group Rescue Our Schools, spoke to Julia after government figures showed two out of five English primary school pupils fail to reach the standard expected in reading, writing and maths.

Holt prompted incredulity from our presenter when she said: "My interpretation of that is the tests are too hard. 

"Michael Gove deliberately made these tests harder. There is absolutely no academic evidence anywhere that if you make tests harder children will rise to the challenge."

Holt insisted she is not against testing, but said "the problem with [SAT] tests is there’s a toxic link between the test scores and judging schools."

The interviewee also suggested she would support the idea of sampling, where a random selection of students are tested rather than an entire school, and said school leaders are under huge pressure because of the sheer volume of testing.

But Julia argued that "the schools are choosing not to teach properly. Those headteachers should be sacked - you're not supposed to teach to the test."

Listen to the full interview above