The Parents Defending Education campaign

Today the following statement was read out at The Parents Defending Education campaign launch on our behalf.

This meeting, which included speakers children’s author Michael Rosen, Deputy General Secretary of NUT Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of ATL Mary Bousted and the Anti Academies Alliance urged “parents in every school, in every village, in every town and in every city to meet, discuss and get organised…”.

Let Kids Be Kids is delighted to be able to work with other parent campaign groups to give a voice to parents and their children across the country. We’ve come a long way in just a few weeks… well done to all of you who have supported us to get this far!

This is a statement from Let Our Kids Be Kids who are campaigning for parents to keep their children off school on 3rd May as a direct message to the government that enough is enough… we want an end to the SATs exams NOW! Not in the future. Not in 2017. Now.

We were invited to speak at this event but feel strongly about remaining anonymous throughout our campaign. To single out any one parent or any one school would detract from the national voice of the parents we represent. We dearly love the schools our children attend and have the utmost respect for the heads and teachers there. This is NOT about us or our schools – it’s about NATIONAL education policy.
Children have only once chance at childhood and we are a voice for thousands of parents who want action NOW before it is too late for their child.

We started the idea of the Kids’ Strike on 3rd May as a protest against the Year 2 SATS as that’s what our children are going through now. The 3rd May was purposefully chosen as a probable non-testing day. This is NOT a parental boycott of SATs it is a protest to stop them happening at all.  If we all stand together change can happen.

We know we don’t need to convince you of the arguments against these tests. There are plenty of voices louder than ours saying how inappropriate these tests are, how anxious primary children have become and how much stress teachers are under due to a dulled down, Ofsted driven curriculum.

We tell our children that these tests don’t matter. Our wonderful teachers tell our children that they are just puzzles. Yet children find them so very hard and so very confusing that they feel like they are doing something wrong. Children this age define their whole identity on how they please the adults around them… they see that they don’t know enough and to them that means they failed us.

We are passionate about giving a voice to our children whose views are often belittled and dismissed. How can you ignore the plea of one of our supporter’s 6 year old’s though when she says… “It’s not like when you are at work mummy and people listen to you… people don’t listen when you are 6. I keep telling them that it’s too hard and too tricky and too boring but no-one is listening to me”.

Parents all over the country ARE listening to their children and are asking for a return to a curriculum full of joy and wonder… not simply grammar, punctuation and mathematical reasoning. Parents know that children in primary school should be outside more, learning through play, developing social skills, singing, dancing, being children… not just robots in an exam factory testing machine. Please Let Our Kids Be Kids.

We have, since just the end of March, collected tens of thousands of signatures from people who support a Kids’ Strike on 3rd May. We have a massive following on Facebook with hundreds of new followers every day. We have had fantastic feedback from teachers and head teachers who are genuinely grateful that parents are showing their support for them in this time of difficulty in their profession. We know that the message is getting out across the country that parents do have a voice on 3rd May.
There are many people saying that they will use 3rd May as a protest against the Year 6 SATs and against the White Paper as a whole… this would be a fantastic opportunity for us all to stand together and tell the government that we’ve had enough – these are OUR children and we want to be listened to.

Thank you so much to the Parents Defending Education group for taking the time to read out our words and to you the audience for listening to our words. Our words are the words of parents all over the country. Our words are the words of our children whose voice is seldom heard. Words are important but often deeds have more impact.

We’ve had it with words. We want action… and that action is the 3rd May Kids’ Strike.
Let’s show Nicky Morgan that we are all standing together and that we all want change.

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