Increasingly parents are asking what they can do to protect children from the high stakes testing in primary schools. There’s a mainstream awareness that the system is not fit for purpose and that the pressure children face in primary school is damaging.
It’s hard for parents to know what to do for the best. Parents are very respectful of teachers and headteachers and trust them with the well-being of their children. However, parents are also aware that the teaching profession is speaking out against SATs and being ignored.
- This Question Time clip shows the strength of public opinion against the high stakes testing and the frustration felt by the profession.
- This article shows that MPs are aware of the link between SATs and mental health.
- This report shows the severe impact high pressured testing can have on young children.
Everyone knows about the problem but no-one is taking action! Many parents now feel they can not stand by and watch this happen any longer… they want to take action to effect change.
In the past couple of weeks it has come to light that parents DO have a power to act against the tests. Research by Reclaiming Schools points out that “Heads are clearly expected to work in cooperation with parents and teachers.” and that “there is nothing in law to force a parent to submit their child to these tests”. This advice is reiterated in an answer to a parliamentary question regarding withdrawing from SATs within which Anne Milton MP states that ‘Children attending school are not legally required to sit the national key stage tests’.
So… if you want to use your parent power to stand up for your child, you can do. Read the research into the law, use this letter as a template if you wish… do what you think is right for your child, and all children, in a broken system.
Withdrawal Letter – Year 6 SATs 2018
Teachers, headteachers, parents… use your power!
“I daily thank god that I am a retired teacher and headteacher. I simply could not ask my staff to persecute children with never ending ‘tests’ that do nothing to further any child’s education or ability to make sense of the world. I simply would have refused to cooperate with the idiots charged with designing our so-called education system.
Teaching used to be a joyous profession. Happy children, staff who didn’t dread walking daily through the school gates and heads who were left to manage their schools without the constant interference of people who couldn’t do the job themselves.
I used to be described as formidable by LEA officers, advisors alike. Yes I was. Formidable in my determination to do the very best I could for the young people in my charge.
Schools used to be about opportunities for social mobility- a chance for bright children to be picked up by insightful teachers and for the ones struggling to be identified and helped. Education has become a political football booted from one end of an uneven pitch to the other people many of whom are products of Eton Oxbridge and who haven’t got a clue about the real world.
How I long to meet whoever sits there and has a light bulb moment! It would not take me 5 minutes to make it clear why I was described as formidable, why I was much loved by students, staff and parents alike and why they should be out on their ear.
Fight for your children! You have more power than you know.”
This consultation is for anybody with an interest in the early years, primary education and the way that pupils are assessed in school. This includes parents, carers and young people and organisations representing them.
“I want a system that measures the progress that children make throughout their time at primary school fairly and accurately, a system that recognises teachers’ professionalism in assessing their pupils, and a system which does not impose a disproportionate burden.” Justine Greening
“It is important that we have a proper, considered debate around these proposals so that we can move forwards to a stable, trusted primary assessment system which delivers strong educational outcomes for all children, regardless of their background, ability or any additional needs they may have.” Justine Greening
“I want as many people as possible with an interest in the future of primary education to participate in these consultation exercises and to share their thoughts.” Justine Greening
So this is interesting and shows the tide most definitely turning. Pearson write the tests and their interim report into primary assessment echoes many of the points that we’ve been making:
-The concerns of government are prioritised over and above the needs of teachers and pupils.
–Teachers do not feel their professional judgment is valued highly enough.
They are concerned about the impact assessment is having on the curriculum.
-Children with SEND are put at a disadvantage by an assessment system which does not recognise their capacities and needs.
-Teachers are concerned about the dominance of assessment-for-accountability.
-Teachers, parents, governors and pupils all feel anxiety over the impact of high stakes tests.
-Assessment (ongoing as well as terminal) can cause unreasonable workloads.
-Teachers and parents have significant concerns about the accuracy and consistency of assessments.
The DfE are investigating SATs because they aren’t sure they have things quite right. They want YOUR views. Your voice is perhaps the most important that they hear. If you are a pupil who has just had SATs this is your chance to tell the people in charge, in the government, what you thought of them. Don’t worry – this is how democracy works, we are lucky enough to have freedom of speech in our country and they told us that “this consultation is for anybody with an interest in the early years, primary education and the way that pupils are assessed in school. This includes… young people “. We are sure they would find what you have to say really interesting and it might help make a difference for children younger that you who might do the tests next year. Thank you so much! Ask a grown up to help you on this web page: LKBKx
If you haven’t taken part in the DfE’s consultation on Primary Assessment DO IT NOW! They want to hear parent voices too – we are the experts of how these tests affect OUR children!