LET KIDS SHINE – 3rd MAY 2017

LET KIDS SHINE CAMPAIGN – MAY 3rd 2017

Please read our plan for alternative action below, spread the word as far and wide as you can… and go buy some glitter!

Let Kids Be Kids are DELIGHTED that teaching unions (NUT and ATL ) are starting to make plans to boycott SATs in 2018… it’s a shame that things didn’t move quickly enough for the children of 2017 but we want to show teachers our support for action ASAP.

We are also encouraged that the DfE is investigating primary assessment and talking of scrapping Year 2 SATs in 2020. We are concerned though that so many children are STILL going to be put through flawed tests and the narrowed curriculum in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Parental action in 2016 was fantastic and no doubt encouraged this change. Media attention in 2017 is going to be focused on the election… SATs will not get much of a mention. We need a different approach to ensure the SATs of 2017 don’t go unmarked or ignored… we’d hate those with the power to make change think we no longer care!

Many parents are boycotting the tests and we hope that you will all continue to share plans and ideas on this page in support of this. But we know that’s not possible for everyone, especially in our post-Platt, Orwellian school fines system!

Here’s a suggestion of how we can all mark May 3rd 2017… in a very sparkly and shiny way to highlight that childhood should never by dulled down and that the SATs system is a mess!

LET KIDS SHINE CAMPAIGN – MAY 3rd 2017 PARENTAL ACTION

This year on 3rd May we’re asking you to send glittery letters and cards to teachers and heads to thank them for helping your child to SHINE, despite the narrowed curriculum they are asked to deliver in order to pass the ridiculous tests. Get your children to help you make the cards as SHINY and SPARKLY as you can and pop in something like this little poem to encourage them to take action alongside their unions…

We’ve signed the petitions, we’ve been on strike,
we’ve posted and tweeted with all our might.
We’ve nearly got there – change will come…
but 2020 is just too long!
Our hope rests with you to boycott the SATs…
to put a stop to this madness at last!
Please use your ballot to boycott – it’s high time!
Together we can make our children sparkle and shine!

LET KIDS SHINE CAMPAIGN – MAY 3rd 2017 TEACHER / HEADTEACHER ACTION

On May 3rd perhaps staff could wear something super sparkly to work?! We know many teachers feel they can’t openly speak out but this might be a way to show us your support in a secret, sparkly way?!  Wonderful heads who support the notion that primary assessment needs a drastic overhaul could even hold a sparkly non-uniform day and encourage children to SHINE all day long!

LET KIDS SHINE CAMPAIGN – THROUGHOUT MAY 2017 – LET’S ALL REMIND POLITICIANS OF THE MESS THEY’VE CREATED

Please send a lovely glittery card to a politician you think needs a reminder of how childhood should be… and for good measure pop in an extra handful of glitter as you seal the envelope for a lovely surprise upon opening!  Each little grain of glitter on their carpet might make them think about all those little children who are still being put through SATs and the total mess that’s been created!

Here’s a suggested message for the inside of your card:

Dear MP,
We have high standards for our children – we want them to SPARKLE and SHINE during their childhood, developing a life-long love of learning and an excitement for the wonders of the world. The DfE have identified that the current primary assessment system is a MESS but are prepared to wait until 2020 to make any change. Parents and teachers are the ones currently clearing up the MESS that’s been created by SATs… it’s taking a lot longer for us than it will for you to sweep up this glitter. We hope our glittery message serves as a reminder of the MILLIONS of children still suffering a narrowed curriculum, in a dulled down, test driven school system which does not encourage our nation’s children to SHINE. Waiting until 2020 to make a change is immoral and unfair; our children are the future of this country – they only get one chance at their education and they need your help. Stop the SATs – and the damage – now!

Not sure who to write to… you could try these powerful people:

Nick Gibb 

Justine Greening 

Check your local MP via https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/

THANKS AS EVER FOR BEING SO POSITIVE, PROACTIVE AND POWERFUL,
LET KIDS BE KIDS

Our stance for action before May 2017

Let Kids Be Kids started last year as just 5 parents wanting to try and make a difference and is now delighted to be part of something much bigger!

Let Kids Be Kids is a member of the More Than a Score campaign – members include the NUT,  The Association of Educational Psychologists, The National Association for Primary Education, The Save Childhood Movement and The British Educational Research Association and we are all fighting for a common cause – an alternative to the current, damaging system of primary assessment.

We also support the work of other Parent Groups such as Rescue Our Schools and Keep Early Years Unique in order to further raise awareness of the problem and to work together to find solutions.

Since May 2017, many local parent groups have been set up and there are now so many things happening across the country at local levels that we can hardly keep up!

We have been contacted by so many parents willing to boycott SATs this year. Many parents have already made the decision to keep their children off school on SAT test days. They realise that this isn’t a perfect solution but feel it is the only action left available to them… waiting for political change will be too late for their child and they want to make a stand against what they know is wrong for so many children across the country.

We also know of many headteachers who are supporting boycotts of the SATs by parents, and indeed in some areas, schools are promising to boycott the tests themselves.

We have therefore been asked to share a letter that can be used by those who want to raise the issue with their school, which you are free to edit, copy, and amend as you see fit. We hope that it helps you raise your concerns with your Headteacher, whilst also encouraging the school to show you the respect of being honest about the current state of Primary Assessment. We hope that parents and Headteachers can use this letter to see a way to work together to make positive change happen.

Click Here to Download an Example SATs Discussion Letter

From discussion on our Facebook page amongst parents and teachers it is our understanding that a school has a legal duty to administer tests to children, in school, on test days. Parents do not, as of yet, have a legal duty to have their children in school every day. They may educate their children off site for what sympathetic headteachers feel is an EXCEPTIONAL circumstance.

Whilst many feel inspired to boycott the SATs this year, this is not going to be appropriate for everyone. We hope that people will also continue to create local groups and attend events; to discuss the issues surrounding the curriculum; to encourage debate with parents, teachers and head teachers and share what they have planned and what you achieve, so that nationally, in working together we can ALL achieve more.

More Than a Score – Call to Action

Super excited to be a part of this campaign!

MORE THAN A SCORE launches today as a coalition of all of us who are concerned about the negative impact of the current primary assessment system!

There’s a MASSIVE voice of concerned parties – not just parents but teachers, unions, child psychotherapists, educational psychologists…

More Than a Score calls on the government of Theresa May to:
“Recognise the scale of these problems and respond to the unprecedentedly high level of professional and parental concern” and “Suspend arrangements for primary assessment in 2016/17.”

Please spread the word and follow their Facebook page and Twitter account @MoreThanScore and use the hashtag #morethanascoreUK

From their web site:

THE PROBLEM: More Than a Score believes that the current system of national testing of primary school children to judge the effectiveness of teachers and schools is deeply flawed. It has resulted i…

Source: Our Call to Action

Response to DfE ‘u-turn’

Image via @Who_d_teach

Image via @Who_d_teach

Warning – long and ranty post… important though so please read!

So, we’ve all had a chance to process the DfE ‘u-turn’ info from Wednesday (see here)… it certainly gave us food for thought!

It is good news that our Year 7s will not suffer resits – thank goodness they’ve backed down on that one!

It is good news that Ms Greening acknowledges that the pace and level of disruption caused in our primary schools is untenable and hence proposes no new assessment initiatives until 2018 after a full review of assessment systems.

That’s where the good news stops.

The SATs go ahead for TWO more cohorts of Year 2s and Year 6s. This, despite Primary Assessment being the subject of a Parliamentary inquiry (see here) AND an in depth consultation from the DfE.

Here’s a couple of analogies to mull over…

Consider that you’ve been ordered to give your child medication. You do not consider your child ill. The vast majority of medical experts say there’s no need for your child to take the medicine. You discover that the medicine is not working and, more worryingly, has side affects which may affect long term mental health. Do you a) continue taking the medication for TWO years while a review is undertaken or b) cease taking the medication while the review takes place!?

Consider that you’ve recently been in a ‘car crash’ (remember that term used by teaching unions to describe last year’s SATs?). There’s clearly something wrong with your car, yet the garage just change the wheels and polish over the scratches… underneath the bonnet the engine is still the same; you have a broken machine, declared not safe to drive by expert mechanics. Do you a) head off down the motorway and resume the road trip or b) stay off the roads until you know it’s safe for your kids in the back!?

Not hard is it.

But SATs still go ahead. Nothing changes. The pressure on our teachers to teach to the test remains the same… despite secondary schools having little or no faith in the SAT results. The affect the age inappropriate curriculum and the testing culture has on the well-being, health and happiness of our young children is well documented. Creativity is lost, playtime is limited, homework increases, 5 year olds are being kept in at playtime to redo past papers, children are learning cursive script at the age of 4… things are not looking good!

We are parents, these are OUR children… we MUST make our voice heard that it is NOT GOOD ENOUGH to keep things as they are.

Let Kids Be Kids, representing the voice of over 27,000 parents via Facebook and over 50,000 signatories to our anti SATs petition, calls for an end to the current SATs system NOW.

Trust our schools, let children learn in the ways they learn best, return to teacher assessment while we bring our education system into the 21st Century and make it one that does indeed work for everyone – parents, children and teachers, not just those in power who want to measure their own success above the happiness of our children.

Those in a position of power to make change need to do so NOW. SATs testing since 2016 is NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE and as such should be scrapped until a full review can be completed. Do not stand by and watch the same mistakes happen again – if you think this system is damaging to children and damaging to the teaching profession then STAND UP and make your voice heard.

Feel free to add YOUR comments on our Facebook post here

 

 

United Nations – rights of the child

Very interesting…

United Nations has “serious concerns” about UK Government’s failure to prioritise children’s needs
The UK Government is not putting children at the heart of its policies, a coalition of charities warns, following a damning United Nations report into children’s rights in the UK…

http://www.crae.org.uk/news/united-nations-has-%E2%80%9Cserious-concerns%E2%80%9D-about-uk-government%E2%80%99s-failure-to-prioritise-children%E2%80%99s-needs

Letter to Nicky Morgan following response to 38 degrees petition

This is the letter we’ve sent to the DfE in response to their reaction to the 38 degrees petition…

Letter to Nicky Morgan in response to 38 Degrees petition

The text from our letter is below too:

Dear Nicky Morgan,

You may remember an interview some time ago when you told us that you considered yourself to be a ‘listening Secretary of State’. This has left us somewhat confused.

On 3rd May 2016, a petition was presented to the DfE by a delegation of parents; this petition represented the support of over 47,000 parents across the country for teachers to boycott SATs. It was created in response to the increasingly constricted curriculum placed upon our schools and children and as a reaction to the inappropriate and unnecessary testing that currently takes place in our primary schools. Our children are currently the most tested in Europe. We understand clearly as parents that assessment of children is necessary in various forms throughout our children’s lives and we are not against this: appropriate testing allows teachers to inform their teaching based upon the understanding and needs of the children they teach. What we object to is the form of the testing taking place. It is excessive, provides inaccurate results and creates a restricted curriculum. This year in particular it was deeply flawed. It also shows a clear lack of trust in trained teachers to make judgements.

We understand that petitions are probably delivered on a regular basis to Government offices, and are aware that some may slip through the net… However, this one was also accompanied by massive publicity in the form of a children’s strike. This made headline news all over the country and featured on the front page of many newspapers. Parents of well over 8,000 children across the country felt so strongly about the current system of education that they were prepared, for the first time, to take their children out of school to show the strength of their feeling. They were prepared to risk fines, and despite believing very strongly in the importance of their children’s education, they were prepared to remove their children from school – to see if you were listening.

These parents have high expectations of their children; they want them to do well and want to support them to do this. The children spent a day involved in fun, educational activities; they made new friends, they learned new skills and they learned about democracy and how important it is to stand up for what is right. At 12.30, children throughout the country shouted together ‘Nicky Morgan, are you listening?’ in the hope that you were.

But you weren’t.

Instead of an acknowledgement of what took place on that day – a democratic protest that asked you to listen and respond in order to help us to support our children, we have, a month later, received a generic letter signed by Anthony Hunter, Ministerial and Public Communications Division which fails to address the concerns we had raised with you.

We also wrote you an open letter which has been widely publicised and sent to you by a great number of people. Again, no response. You actually cancelled a live discussion due to take place with the TES the day after the strike, rather than address the issue.

The ‘Let Our Kids Be Kids’ protest grew from the concerns of a very small group of parents and in just five weeks spread nationwide. Very little media publicity was generated until the day itself. This demonstrates clearly how strong the concerns felt by parents across the country are – they were waiting for this opportunity. Many parents didn’t find out until the day itself. Many didn’t understand then what was going on in our education system. Many, many more have contacted the group since 3rd May to ask what will happen next…

The SATs have now passed, but the concerns of parents are not gone. In fact, they are growing. It is not only parents speaking out now: educationalists, mental health experts, teachers, unions and headteachers are all now speaking out on a regular basis with regards to the damage the current system is inflicting upon a generation of children. We are seeing groups of headteachers working together to try to create a new, better curriculum; unions galvanising their members into striking
against conditions in schools that create a poor educational environment for our children; mental health experts speaking out against the culture of testing, and we are seeing parents joining forces to create groups to support of this. Across the country, parents are lobbying their MPs to try to change the system of education that is destroying our children’s resilience, enthusiasm and love of learning. What began as a few has now been taken on by many.

We want to work together to see change. We want to make the education system work. We want you to listen to parents, children, teachers, experts in education and mental health and help us to get it right. Together. We want you to do what you promised. We want you to listen and to show us that you are by helping us to change this system.

Best wishes,
All of those who want change.

Response to 3rd May petition

Here’s the response we received recently to our petition.  We thought you would be interested to see how the views of (at that point) over 47,000 are viewed by the DfE. It seems Nicky’s still not listening…. she’s not even replying!
We’ll be responding with a letter of our own stating our disappointment…  if you want to do the same the best address to use is  ministers@education.gsi.gov.uk   or you could try Nick Gibb instead gibbn@parliament.uk