DOZENS of parents have raised concerns about possible changes to primary school education that could bring back tests for four-year-olds.

A meeting was held in Botley on Monday to allow people to discuss how they would respond to an ongoing Government consultation on SATs tests.

Teacher and union leader Gawain Little spoke at the event in St Peter and St Paul's Church Hall in Elms Parade, along with university lecturer and parent Dr Tamsyn Dent.

The draft consultation closes on June 22 and parents who attended were able to find out more as well and put forward ideas for responses.

Mr Little, a member of the National Union of Teachers' executive, told the meeting that teachers often don't want to raise their concerns in front of parents, even though a recent survey showed 97 per cent were worried that test preparation was having a negative impact on youngsters.

He said: "The current testing system is inaccurate and educationally unsound.

"The consultation does not address these issues and the proposal to introduce testing of four-year-olds would compound them.

"What we need is an independent review of primary assessment."

The Government has proposed making SATs for seven-year-olds optional while bringing back tests for Reception pupils, aged four and five.

Dr Dent spoke to the meeting about wider social issues related to the impact of high-stakes testing on the school curriculum.

She said too much emphasis on specific subjects restricted access to a broader creative and physical curriculum.

She added that this negatively impacted on social mobility because only children whose parents could afford to pay for out-of-school provision could take up music and art.

Dr Dent said: "As a sociologist this was of interest, of course, but it all really made sense when I had a child in primary school."

The meeting was attended by a number of local politicians as well as Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran.

Vale of White Horse district councillor for North Hinksey Judy Roberts said the meeting was a useful way to inform parents.

She said: "There were a few people there who knew quite a lot and who had gone through the consultation.

"Most of the people who went along wanted to find out more and came away thinking this was something they needed to inform themselves about.

"Parents are very concerned about having their children tested from such a young age."

To complete the consultation visit