If you were a teenager – or lived with one – any time prior to 2008, news this week that the UK government is thinking about bringing back Sats for 14-year-olds across England may well have caught your eye. If you happened to teach teenagers at the time and had to prep for those tests, your reaction will have been altogether less sanguine. These were not popular exams. The then-Labour government justified their demise by claiming they made little sense. They brought children few benefits, they said. And the workload they brought teachers was untenable.

So why bring them back? Well, as education specialists Stephen Gorard and Nadia Siddiqui convincingly make the case, because key stage three Sats weren’t actually a bad idea. And those reasons given for scrapping them never really held water either. Crucially, research shows the teacher assessments that have since replaced them aren’t as fair as they should be.

Elsewhere, as a 100-year-old man faces trial in Germany, a modern European historian tracks the dogged lifelong determination required to bring Nazi war criminals to justice. And Boris Johnson’s hirsute approach to populist politics is carefully untangled ahead of his Tory conference speech.

Dale Berning Sawa

Acting commissioning editor, Cities and Young People

Would formal exams be a better measure of year nines’ performance than the teacher assessments currently in place? keith morris / Alamy Stock Photo

Sats – why bringing back tests for 14-year-olds could help disadvantaged students

Stephen Gorard, Durham University; Nadia Siddiqui, Durham University

Would formal exams be a better, and fairer, measure of pupil performance than teacher assessments?

Johnson: artfully unkempt as a way of life. EPA/Andy Rain

Scruffy Boris Johnson’s ‘man of the people’ look is part of a long British tradition

Dominic Janes, Keele University

When preened and powdered aristocrats starting losing their heads, politicians learned to start dressing like ordinary people.

Hermann Goering takes the witness stand at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. akg-images / Alamy Stock Photo

Trial of 100-year-old man in Germany: why Nazi war crimes take so long to prosecute

Rainer Schulze, University of Essex

The complex history of prosecuting Nazi war crimes means elderly men and women are on trial for crimes committed decades ago.

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  • Pas de souci! The French war on saying ‘no worries’

    Pierre-Yves Modicom, Université Bordeaux Montaigne

    It’s one of the most common expressions used in French but also one of the most controversial. A linguist explains why “pas de souci” is no mere English import.


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