Monday 2 November 2009

Vote to support a boycott of SATs

From Monday, NUT members in primary schools will be receiving an indicative ballot paper calling on them to support a boycott of SATs. Teachers should vote YES!

The educational argumnets against SATs are overwhelming. The recent Cambridge Primary Review was just the latest academic study to call for an end to a testing regime that narrows the curriculum and drives out enjoyment from teaching and learning.

A school's league table position and OFSTED grading, as well as teachers' individual pay and performance management, are all tied to SATs results. That's why teachers are forced to 'teach to the test' to make sure that Government targets are reached.

But securing a particular level in a narrow SATS test or a particular league table position gives only a limited - and often inaccurate - picture of a child's abilities - and a school's success. Teachers need to make clear that education would be much improved by abolishing SATS in England.

There will be colleagues that are worried about what teaching without SATS would be like - and whether it might be replaced by an assessment scheme like APP that could mean even greater teacher workload. But SATS are a key part of the bullying machinery that drives so much of our workload. We must fight to abolish SATS - and then demand alternative assessment schemes that can reduce teacher workload too.

It's taken too long since Annual Conference took the decision last Easter to launch a boycott for a ballot to be issued. But now the papers are out, even if only indicative at this stage, let's make sure teachers vote to support a boycott!

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