Why have you started this campaign?
This campaign aims to highlight the unnecessary stress that SATs tests place on both teachers and children. The tests are too hard for such young children and our teachers are forced to ‘teach to the test’ in order to prepare the children. Year 2 children are just 6 and 7 years old – too young to be revising, looking at past papers and sitting tests in silence! Year 6 children are facing high pressure tests at the end of primary education – facing being labelled as failures before they’ve even started secondary school! As a result of these tests, our children’s curriculum has become narrowed and extremely prescriptive. We want a return to a creative, teacher-led curriculum that encourages joy and wonder in learning, a curriculum that engages and inspires our children, rather than one that demotivates and disengages them.
This campaign is to show the strength of support felt by parents across the country for their children’s wonderful teachers who we know want the same as us: to be able to inspire children in a love of learning in a way that is appropriate to their age.
What is the aim of this campaign?
We wanted the SATs of 2016 to be cancelled! We now want to make sure that the ‘car crash’ does not repeat in 2017.
We want to stop externally set, high stakes, SAT testing in schools and return to teacher led assessment.
Is the protest only for children in Year 2?
The protest began focused on children in Year 2, however since then many more parents have become involved who are concerned about their own children taking Year 6 SATs and also parents with children in other year groups children who will face this testing in the future. The protest on May 3rd included all primary aged children. We did NOT encourage parents to keep secondary aged children out of school.
Why 3rd May? There were no tests then…
The 3rd May was chosen specifically as a NON-TESTING DAY. If a child in Yr 2 is absent for a test day, they may end up taking the test separately from the rest of their class, thus causing more stress. We hoped that the support of so many parents around the country would encourage teachers to feel that they can boycott the SATS as unions suggest they want to. The day sent a strong message to Nicky Morgan that parents DO care about education and want change. We take our children’s education very seriously but feel that the current regime of constant and inappropriate testing is unfair and unnecessary for both teachers and pupils.
Were the tests different in 2016?
Yes, the tests this year are much harder than in previous years. Another issue is that teachers have not been given enough time to prepare children for these tests due to changes made by the Government. As a result, many teachers feel that their pupils are being set up to fail.
Do teachers support your campaign?
Our Facebook page and Twitter timeline is full of supportive comments by teachers from all over the country. We have also had a lot of support from Headteachers; many of whom have written us letters of support to publish on our site such as this. University lecturers have also written articles in support of our campaign via letters such as this. We also have reports from many, many parents of the support shown by their own Headteachers when approached. Some schools have also released official statements such as the following:
What next after 3rd May?
A few people have been in touch wondering what’s next and asking when’s the next strike?! We want to let you all know that we are in a state of limbo right now… a limbo of hope! As you know the petition and the action on 3rd May were in SUPPORT OF TEACHERS TO BOYCOTT SATS.
We had hoped that, given the chaos surrounding this year’s tests and the cacophony of voices calling for a stop to the tests that the best Interests of OUR children would be put before political agendas and the tests would have been scrapped for 2016.
We know that we made a massive statement on May 3rd about what we think learning should look like We know that we helped to build a picture of incompetence in this DfE. We showed that this Secretary of State is NOT listening to parents.
We know that teachers and head teachers have said that this should never happen again. They called for a complete review of the primary assessment system. We welcomed that with open arms.
We are in a state of limbo waiting to see what ACTION teachers and headteachers are going to now take. We are confident that lots of work is being done behind the scenes and we are urging them not to take too long about it… before another cohort of children are put through the same thing again.
Someone described this year’s testing system as a ‘car crash’ that was allowed to happen by a government who ignored head teachers, teachers, parents and children.
It is now down to teachers and headteachers to ACT to stop another car crash from happening next year.
We are watching very carefully to see how parents can once again show their SUPPORT for teachers who want to ACT to make change happen.
Parents will not stand by and watch it happen again.
The Kids Strike of 3rd May was organised by 5 parents in 5 weeks… with NO funding and NO media or campaign training. At least 8000 children were off school on 3rd May. 5000 parents who had to work sent in letters of support. Now local groups are springing up and the word is spreading far and wide. Next time we could be even bigger, even more co-ordinated, even more able to deal with the media frenzy! If we need to do show our discontent again we are sure there would be many, many more people supporting this campaign.
We hope that it does not come to that.