Parents and teachers have voiced their anger over a primary school test that was so hard it reduced children to tears.

This year's key stage 2 tests in reading, writing and maths, formerly known as Sats, were made tougher by the Government in a bid to raise standards among Year Six pupils.

But teachers took to forums on the Times Education Supplement's website to condemn the reading test, the first of the papers taken by around 600,000 pupils in the final year of primary school.

They claimed the exam bore no relation to the sample practice papers and was more suitable for mid-secondary school level.

Parents said their children struggled to answer questions or finish the test after doing well in previous years.

One teacher said: "That was, without doubt, the hardest reading test I've ever seen. Unbelievable. I'm so angry right now.

"That has completely demoralised a number of children in my class. It wasn't even like the sample paper they released. Much harder."

Primary school children last week joined their parents and guardians in protesting the controversial new Sats tests. Credit: PA

Another added: "I can't believe how many of my kids didn't even manage to finish the paper. The texts weren't so bad but the questions and the wording of them (vocabulary etc) was like something I have never seen before. I'm staggered."

One teacher said the test was a "definite and significant step-up from the old papers", while another said: "This was no test for average ability children. What a way to demoralise children who have worked so hard in preparation."

The teachers claimed to have also suffered while pupils sat the compulsory tests.

"Never felt so frustrated, having to sit and watch these poor kids struggle and get stressed and not be able to do anything to help them," one wrote.

The Department for Education defended the harder tests and said they were designed to judge school performances and should "not be a cause of stress" to pupils.

The 2016 reading test was developed in the same way as the sample test. Trialling of the 2016 test showed that the difficulty of the paper was broadly similar.

Department for Education spokesperson