Teachers vote to consider boycott of primary tests

Teachers have voted to consider balloting for a boycott of next year’s primary national tests.

Delegates at the National Union of Teachers’ (NUT) conference in Brighton, also voted in favour of a campaign to cancel next term’s SATs following a year of “chaotic” assessment change.

Teachers carried an emergency motion this morning calling for a potential ballot for a boycott of new baseline tests for four and five-year-olds, and KS1 and KS2 tests “at the most appropriate time”. Union leadership later said that this could mean a boycott in 2017.

The motion condemned the “wholly unacceptable” way in which the Government has managed assessment change during the 2016 spring term.

It claimed that the recent ‘clarifications’ – issued by the Department for Education – leave fundamental issues “confused and unresolved”.

The motion states: “The 2016 results of the KS1 and KS2 assessment cannot be taken as fair, accurate, or reliable representation of the attainment of pupils and of the work of schools.”

A recent survey by the NUT, of more than 5,200 primary teachers in England, found that almost nine in ten primary teachers believe Nicky Morgan should cancel national tests due to be taken next term.

The NUT’s priority motion, one of several listed on primary education and the impact of testing, says it will seek support from unions for “a campaign to cancel arrangements for 2016 primary assessment”.

The poll, taken over two days last week, also revealed that almost two-thirds (61 per cent) believe the government should scrap baseline assessment for reception children.

And an overwhelming majority of teachers (96 per cent) said they were worried about the spelling, grammar and punctuation test (SPAG) and that preparation for these tests would cause too much stress for many children.

An amendment to the motion, backed by delegates, said: “Parents are confused and angry about what is being done to their children’s education.”

This morning Philipa Harvey, former president of NUT, told delegates that one pupils had told her that the “fun has been taken out of learning”.

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