The February edition of Classroom Teacher is now on the Classroom Teacher website http://classroomteacher.org.uk/CTFeb2010.pdf
The article on SATs by Louise Cuffaro, a Newham primary teacher, is definitely worth a read:
At the end of January, I attended an informative London Reps’ training. Only a day or two previously, a joint NUT/NAHT press statement had been issued stating that both unions will be balloting for action "to frustrate the administration of SATs". However, it appears that only NUT leadership group members (together with NAHT members) will in fact be balloted, due to the legality about who is responsible for administering the SATs. Reps held a meeting to discuss our concerns about this.
NUT Conference voted to support a boycott of the 2010 SATs. Most Reps and our members expected strong guidance and support to be issued and publicised in time to enable them to resist all SATs preparation from September. But no such guidance came from the NUT Executive.
Inevitably, Heads have pressurised Year 6 teachers to carry out mock SATs tests, to hold booster classes, to give up P.E., Art, trips... Heads have used Ofsted, League Tables and the lack of any concrete details of the NUT campaign to ensure that the grinding preparation for SATs (which constrains the curriculum and means stress and workload for pupils and teachers alike) has carried on.
The legal difficulties may well be real. But the lack of attempt to guide NUT members to strongly resist the preparation process means reps felt unsure that this ballot will be won. It's not usually the manager members of any union that boldly carry out industrial action! However, it is possible for NUT Headteachers, together with their NAHT colleagues, to be persuaded to vote and take decisive action so long as a serious and public strategy is embarked on urgently and publicised to staff,parents and governors. For example:
1) issue urgent guidance and support to Year 6 staff to help them resist the preparation process.
2) all members should be asked to vote that they will be prepared to take action to support anyone who is victimised.
3) all members receive FAQs on how to resist if a Head tries to pressure them to administer the SATs.
54 reps at the meeting signed a letter to Christine Blower with our concerns. Teachers should make their views known to the NUT Executive before they meet on Thursday 25 February.