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Heads asked to sign pledge against pressurised testing

Anti-Sats campaigners also want primary heads to use ‘project-based learning’

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Headteachers are being urged to sign a pledge to resist "pressurised" testing in primary schools.

The More Than A Score campaign group – which wants an overhaul of standardised assessment in primary schools – is asking heads to sign the pledge to demonstrate their “commitment to support children’s overall education ahead of Sats”.


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The pledge card is being handed out at the NEU teaching union’s conference in Liverpool, and includes suggestions for how heads can show their commitment, including:

  • Delivering a “rich, broad, creative curriculum”.
  • Taking a “project-based learning approach to Sats, to avoid excessive test practice and/or teaching to the test”.
  • Avoiding putting “undue pressure” on children to achieve particular Sats scores.
  • Not running mandatory Sats holiday clubs, booster classes or other sessions that “lead children to believe the tests are an important part of their learning or their future”.
  • Assessing pupils in the round with Sats forming only a small part of the overall picture.

Sara Tomlinson, spokesperson for More Than A Score, said: “This is a practical way for heads and governors to demonstrate their views on primary assessment.

“While they remain legally obliged to run Sats, they can also show how they will continue to put children’s education and well-being ahead of a narrow set of tests.

“More and more heads are calling for an overhaul of the government’s regime and increasingly believe their voices are not being heard in the debate. The pledge gives them a chance to stand up for their schools, staff and pupils in the face of pressure from above.”

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