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Wells teacher supports move to boycott controversial school tests

PUBLISHED: 12:04 08 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:10 07 July 2010

A WELLS headteacher has said she supports the move to boycott this year's primary schools standard assessment tests (Sats).

Carol Jennings, of Wells Primary, said: "I agree with the ballot for action.

A WELLS headteacher has said she supports the move to boycott this year's primary schools standard assessment tests (Sats).

Carol Jennings, of Wells Primary, said: “I agree with the ballot for action. I wish we had done it years ago. I would certainly boycott the tests.

“I didn't support them when they were introduced and I do not support them now. They count against children with special educational needs, narrow the curriculum and encourage schools to teach to the test.

“I'm all for a broader and more balanced education. It's been narrowed to literacy and numeracy. I would be in favour of a move to very rigorous teacher assessment.”

Teachers and headteachers have long been at odds with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).

The two are set to come together during the week beginning May 10, when the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) propose to boycott this year's primary schools standard assessment tests (Sats).

With a May 6 general election looking possible, it is not yet known which government will have to deal with it.

Pupils in England takeg an average 70 national tests at school. Some 54,000 examiners are employed to administer the tests, with more than 25 million papers distributed each year.

One of the biggest sticking points is the government's determination to publish the test results as tables, enabling parents to rank rival schools on the basis of raw data.

Many schools regard Sats tests as unfair, arbitrary and not reflective of the work that schools do in meeting the needs of their students.

The Sats are taken each May by 600,000 pupils in England and are used to generate the primary school league tables. In previous years, they included English, maths and science, but this year the science test has been removed.

There is concern among some parents and many schools that Sats put too much pressure on children at a relatively young age.

The threat of industrial action from the two unions (the largest teaching union, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, is not supporting the ballot) comes at a time when the government appears to be softening its stance on Sats.

A DCSF spokesman said it was piloting an alternative system of testing and investing £150m in expanding and strengthening teacher assessment in schools.

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