Teachers mount SATs challenge

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THOUSANDS of head teachers boycotted SATs tests yesterday on the grounds that the tests damage children’s education.

Head teachers in the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) say SATs encourage teachers to ‘teach to the test’, so that other subjects are squeezed out of the curriculum leaving children with an incomplete education.

SATs results are used to make up primary school league tables which teachers say undermine schools and do not show what they and their pupils really achieve.

The unions want the tests to be replaced with teacher assessment.

Commenting on this week’s boycott of Key Stage 2 tests, Christine Blower, NUT General Secretary said:

‘Thousands of schools across England have decided that enough is enough and have taken the decisive step of boycotting this year’s SATs.

‘There are reports from many areas that a significant majority of primary school pupils will not be sitting Key Stage 2 tests this week. This will make the annual ritual of naming and shaming schools through league tables impossible.

‘It is essential that government listens to and engages with the profession in constructive talks about reforming assessment at primary level.

‘We look forward to meeting with the new government – the election manifestos of both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats acknowledged the need for reform of the tests at Key Stage 2.

We hope that the strength of feeling shown by leadership groups during this boycott will be enough to convince Labour that they too must change direction.

‘I am hearing from a lot of head teachers about just how delighted they are that finally children in their schools are being taught without the threat of SATs results hanging over them. I am also delighted that so many schools have taken the brave step of taking part in the boycott despite the many pressures not to.

‘The campaign to end SATs will continue and I urge the next government to pay immediate and serious attention to the matter of ensuring our schools have a fair and sensible alternative to SATs in place for next year’.