Teachers call for Sats boycott

By politics.co.uk staff

The two main teaching unions are threatening to boycott Sats in primary schools next year if the government fails to scrap the controversial exams.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said they have received 10,000 signatures on a petition to scrap the tests.

Teachers have warned the government that the Key Stage 2 exams force teachers to ‘teach to the test’ and this narrows pupil’s learning.

Christine Blower, NUT general secretary said: “SATs are bad for education, bad for children and bad for teachers.

“They encourage teaching to the test, a narrowing of the curriculum and the unfair and misleading system of league tables.

“Getting so many people signing our petition is a clear indication that we are not alone in our concern about the detrimental effects that SATs have on our education system,” she said.

Meanwhile, NAHT general secretary Mick Brookes, said: “We are determined that this year top primary pupils will receive a broad and balanced curriculum, unhindered by the mind-numbing rehearsal of past SATs papers”.

However, a spokesman for the Department of Children, Schools and Familes told The Guardian: “A boycott of statutory tests would be irresponsible, disruptive to pupils and would risk doing real damage to the standing of the profession.

“It is out of step with what parents want, not backed by other teaching unions, and ignores the findings of our expert group on assessment.

“The NUT and NAHT should take a deep breath and consider our reforms in full before ploughing on regardless”.

However, the Conservatives, who introduced the exams in the mid-90s, back the removal of the tests and have said they would replace them with a test at the beginning of secondary school.

Last year the government scrapped Sats for 14-year-olds following a marking fiasco by the private company who were contracted to administer the tests.