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Conference 2019: NEU To Ballot Primary Members For Boycott Of Primary School Testing

Leicester NEU District Supply Teachers' Officer, Samina Randall
20th May 2019

High stakes testing must end, say teachers, parents and politicians

The NEU is to ballot all members in primary schools for a boycott of all 'high stakes testing', starting with an indicative ballot in the second half of this term. The decision was made at NEU Conference in the same week that both Labour and the Liberal-Democrat Parties announced that they would abolish SATs and league tables for primary schools.

Speaking at the NEU Conference, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said, These tests are bad for children, bad for parents and bad for teachers. We need a different approach, so I am pleased to say that the next Labour government will scrap SATs for seven and eleven year olds. He went on to say that Labour will end Baseline too.

Corbyn's announcement came the day after Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, told our Conference, It is high time we ended the unnecessary stress placed on pupils and teachers by high-stakes testing in primary schools, which is why we should scrap SATs and reception baseline tests altogether.

The NEU, and its predecessor unions NUT and ATL, have been campaigning for many years for an overhaul of the current system of assessment and accountability.

SATs were introduced in 1991 as a system of assessing schools and children - two things which should be kept entirely separate. They have been added to by the phonics tests and times table check.

There is a widespread view amongst teachers, parents, politicians and education experts that the system is damaging for children and education, causing stress and a narrowing of the curriculum.

The announcement from Labour and the Liberal Democrats, together with our ballot, give us the best chance for a generation to press for change. Make sure you know what is happening; talk to your colleagues and be ready to vote in the ballot.


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