SATs tests undermine children’s pleasure in writing, Authors warn

The Society of Authors has issued a statement to the government warning that the current testing regime is undermining children’s ‘pleasure in writing’ and their powers of ‘creativity and self-expression’.

Members who write for children came together to critics the ‘detrimental effects’ of the current trend in education policy, as they feel the increasingly restrictive rules and focus on testing will have a negative impact on children’s writing ability.

The statement suggests that while understanding gramma and syntax facilities a control over language, the teaching of it needs to be meaningful and not ‘for its own sake’.

The Society is concerned that the government is stepping too far so that teaching no longer reflects ‘what writing really does’ and risks ‘alienating, confusing and demoralising children with restrictions on language’.

The statement reads: “We want teachers to be allowed to give all children the chance to love language, play with words, be bold and creative, express themselves - and to learn proper control of language alongside these joyful experiences. Teachers must be allowed to teach the rules of writing in the context of supporting expression and control, not affording primacy to those rules. We condemn the trend towards more and more testing for the sake of testing. We echo fears of primary school teachers that too many of the new tests for young children seem designed to show young children failing.

“Therefore, we call on government to allow the current generation of school children in England to enjoy language, to be empowered by their skill in it, and not to become tangled in rules which have no application outside the narrow confines of a National Test. Amongst these children must be the next generation of novelists, screenwriters, biographers, poets and science writers. We need our children to become fluent, eager and expressive writers, able to persuade, entrance and uplift with language, able to create empathy and delight in their readers. We cannot risk destroying their enjoyment, confidence and power at such an early age.”

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