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NEU Indicative Ballot Starts on June 4th

20th May 2019

We have reached a crucial moment in the campaign for a change to the current system of assessment in primary schools.

Following announcements by the Labour and the Liberal Democrat parties, that they will get rid of SATs and league tables, the NEU is preparing to ballot all members on the question of boycotting all high stakes tests.

There is a widespread view amongst teachers, parents, politicians and education experts that the current assessment system is damaging education because:

  • The high-stakes nature of the tests causes stress for pupils and staff alike.

  • The narrowing of the curriculum, resulting from pressure to teach to the test, means children miss out on a broad education.

  • The focus on a small set of skills, which can be tested, treats all pupils the same and labels them as failures if they do not meet arbitrary standards.

  • The tests are about comparing schools, not about assessing children in a way which helps teachers to support their learning.

In a recent survey 97% of teachers say that preparation for SATs has a negative impact on children's access to a broad and balanced curriculum.

There are alternatives to this system and this is the moment to press for change. We need all members in primary schools to be ready to vote in the indicative ballot.

Call a meeting in your school to discuss the ballot and make sure you are ready to vote: VOTE FOR CHANGE • VOTE YES

High stakes tests discriminate

  • 88% thought that children with special educational needs and disabilities are particularly disadvantaged.
  • 66% thought EAL pupils, for whom English is an additional language, are particularly disadvantaged.
  • 54% believed summer-born children (the youngest in the class) are also at a disadvantage.

Source: SATs - teachers' verdict (2017)

High stakes tests increase workload

  • 93% of teachers said that SATs significantly increased teacher workload at their school.
  • 84% of respondents reported that their school held additional booster classes for Year 6 children.
  • 38% reported booster classes for children preparing for key stage 1 SATs.
  • 33% reported booster classes for five and six year olds, to prepare for the phonics check.
  • Of those who said their school provided additional sessions to help prepare children for national tests:
    • 70% withdrew students from other lessons
    • 20% ran classes in school holidays
    • 57% had classes after school
    • 23% had classes during children and teachers' lunch breaks.

Source: SATs - teachers' verdict (2017)

NEU indicative ballot vote

The NEU indicative ballot will include all members working in primary schools.

  • The indicative ballot will be conducted online.

  • The ballot will begin on June 4th and run for about four weeks.

  • The ballot will have two questions, along these lines:
    1. Do you support the union continuing to campaign for the abolition of SATs and league tables?

    2. If the union balloted you in the next school year, would you refuse to administer statutory tests and refuse to prepare children for them?

The NEU Executive will use the results of the indicative ballot to decide on whether to move to a formal ballot. Therefore, every vote is vital, and we urge all primary members to vote.


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Related articles

Indicative Ballot to Boycott Primary Assessment (12th June 2019)
Conference 2019: NEU To Ballot Primary Members For Boycott Of Primary School Testing (20th May 2019)