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Boycott boost

We are children's authors and illustrators opposed to Sats. Our campaign was founded in 1993. We believe that children's understanding, empathy, imagination and creativity are developed best by reading whole books, not by doing comprehension exercises on short excerpts and not from ticking boxes or giving one-word answers.

It is our view that reading for pleasure is being squeezed by the relentless pressure of testing and we are particularly concerned Sats and the preparation for them are creating an atmosphere of anxiety around the reading of literature. Resources now being channelled into testing could and should be redirected towards libraries, the training of librarians and book provision.

We support the boycott called for by headteachers in the NUT and NAHT unions. There are no Sats in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. We deplore Government threats to use legal action against a form of action that will give children more time to learn and will not disrupt their education in any way.

Signatories include: Michael Rosen, Alan Gibbons, Roger McGough, Cathy Cassidy, Bali Rai, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Darren Shan, Geraldine McCaughrean, Beverley Naidoo, Robert Swindells, Linda Newbery, Tom Palmer, Jean Ure, Mary Hooper, Tim Bowler, Sally Nicholls, Paul Geraghty, Lucy Coats, Fiona Dunbar, Ros Asquith, Ros Barber and more.

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