Polly Curtis, education editor
Thursday 26 March 2009
Teachers are threatening to bring the Sats system in England to a halt by boycotting next year's tests.
Two of the biggest education unions will ask their members to refuse to take part in the tests, which they say have become "unacceptable for the future of children's education".
It is a significant escalation in the teaching profession's opposition to the testing regime, and comes after ministers scrapped the tests for 14-year-olds last year. The two unions, representing more than 300,000 teachers and heads, say they will conduct this year's tests of all seven and 11-year-olds in May only on condition that they will be the last.
The National Union of Teachers will put the plans to its annual conference over Easter, while the National Association of Head Teachers will consider an identical plan at its conference at the end of April. Both organisations say the tests have damaged primary education and put children under unnecessary stress.
Mick Brookes, the NAHT general secretary, said: "Testing narrows the curriculum and makes learning shallow, because the tests are simply regurgitative. Then the results are published in league tables, and schools in the toughest areas, where you've got hardest to teach children, are ridiculed on an annual basis. There is high stress for children; some will already be spending up to 10 hours a week rehearsing these tests. It's a complete waste of time. It is unconscionable that we should simply stand by and allow the educational experience of children to be blighted."
Christine Blower, the NUT's acting general secretary, said: "Primary schools' patience in enduring the damage caused by the tests has been stretched to the limit, and beyond. Our deadline for the end of Sats by 2010 is reasonable, and our alternative is one that will enhance teaching and learning. Above all else, the government needs to understand that this year's national curriculum tests will be the last. . . . .
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
Friday, March 27, 2009
British Teachers Plan to End National Testing
While the spineless AFT and NEA join the Business Roundtable hustle to up the testing ante and thus continue the push to turn American children in helpless drones, the British teachers' unions have made it clear the child abuse through testing is about to come to a screeching halt in Britain. Thank God for professional teachers' organizations somewhere with guts. From The Guardian: