TEACHERS and parents have criticised the Standard Assessment Tests for seven year olds for the very good reason that they are daft.

The value of a formal national examination for such young children is extremely dubious. Results can be skewered by something as simple as the child suffering a sleepless night before the test, which, because of the pressure, many do.

So we welcome Education Secretary Charles Clarke's decision to look again at the system. It would have been preferable for him to have abolished SATS at seven altogether, allowing experienced classroom teachers to make the assessments. But his decision to "soften" SATS is a move in the right direction.

Updated: 10:21 Tuesday, May 20, 2003