Around 15% of 11 year olds are due to sit a new test, this year, aimed at the most capable primary school children.
The first of these externally marked “super SATS” papers will be taken this May by 11 year olds whose work in class is of the same standard expected of a 14 year old.
It is estimated that around 86,000 pupils will sit the new Level 6 test (the standard expected of an average 11 year old is Level 4). This will be on top of their standard SATs exams.
Michael Gove, Education Secretary, said, “It is plain wrong to set a ceiling on the talents of the very brightest pupils. Letting teachers offer Level 6 tests means that the most talented children will be fully stretched and start secondary school razor sharp.”
However, headteachers are worried that primary schools will be “named and shamed” in league tables for struggling to get enough children to Level 6. Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, told The Telegraph, “You do not need a test to stretch bright children, you need to give teachers the time and space to set the right tasks and work with these children.”
This isn’t the first time additional exams have been set for the brightest pupils. In 2002 extra papers were introduced and then abandoned by the Labour government after only 3,000 of the 35,000 children who sat the maths extension paper achieved a Level 6.
Results of this year’s Level 6 tests will be published at national and local authority level this summer.