“That is why the campaign led by some of those who do not think we should set high expectations, who want to ‘keep their children home for a day’ next week, is so damaging.
Keeping children home – even for a day – is harmful to their education and I think it undermines how hard you as heads are working. I urge those running these campaigns to reconsider their actions.”
In response to Nicky Morgan’s attack on parents choosing to exercise their democratic right to protest on Tuesday above we’d like to say the following…
Parents supporting this cause, which has the wellbeing and happiness of their children at its very core, are very angry that Nicky Morgan should suggest that they don’t want high standards for their children.
We all want the best but it seems that we have very differing opinions on what this means in practice. Parents want high standards in enthusiasm for learning, high standards in creativity, high standards in curiosity, high standards in self confidence and self worth. None of these parental high standards are accounted for in the SATs. Many parents feel that these standards have much more worth in real terms for a developing child. Evidence also shows that these standards, so very important to parents, are being undermined by this testing regime.
Achieving high standards in academic learning does not equate to simply measuring test scores in comprehension, grammar, spelling, punctuation and mathematical reasoning … especially when the content is completely inappropriate for the developmental levels of the children. You cannot make children brighter by making tests harder.
We aren’t against tests per se… our amazing teachers measure children’s progress every day and it is right to pinpoint children who may need extra support. However, tests should be at an appropriate level and not be setting children up to fail. This year the government has to recognise that they have got it wrong with the content of the SATs for both year 2 and year 6… we are not alone in voicing this opinion.
Many arguments in favour of so rigorously testing our young children are focused on secondary school exam results at the age of 16. We would suggest to this government that children are perhaps being put off learning at primary level by a dulled down, Ofsted driven curriculum which leaves little opportunity for our wonderful teachers to do what they do best – engage children in the joy and wonder of learning. No wonder that by the time they reach secondary school many children do not want to engage.
Nicky Morgan states that “keeping children home, even for a day, is harmful to their education” and we want to say that this has caused an uproar among our supporters. What exactly does Nicky Morgan think we do with our children at home that is so harmful?
We’d also like to question, if missing school for one day is so damaging, why so many schools are used as polling stations in the local elections…right in the middle of SATs preparation? And again for the upcoming EU referendum?
This isn’t a day off to play computer games or sit around watching telly. On May 3rd via #KidsStrike3rdMay we are coming together in local communities, engaging our children in discussions surrounding democracy and British Values, encouraging them to enjoy outdoor learning and taking part in educational visits.
On May 3rd we are taking our children out of school as a protest against a government imposed testing system which we feel is harmful to our childrens’ confidence, self esteem and in some cases their mental health. The testing regime is what is harmful to millions of children NOT a one-day protest with the wellbeing of our children at its heart.
We are listening to our children, our teachers and our headteachers and SUPPORTING them not undermining them.
We wonder if Nicky Morgan is listening too?