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NUT leadership balks at boycott of national tests

BRITAIN's biggest teachers' union was this week expected to reject calls for a boycott of national curriculum tests this year, disappointing left-wingers and some secondary English teachers.

As The TES went to press, the executive of the National Union of Teachers was deciding whether to ballot members on a boycott of KS1, 2 and 3 tests.

But it is understood that Doug McAvoy, general secretary, and moderate executive members will vote down the proposal as they oppose holding a ballot without the support of other unions. Both the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers believe any boycott could be ruled illegal. Instead of a boycott, the NASUWT has issued guidance to help teachers minimise extra workload resulting from changes to tests this year.

An NUT-backed survey of 3,000 teachers last year found half would only support a boycott if other unions were involved.

Last year's annual NUT conference voted for a boycott and all three big unions will face anti-testing motions by members at their Easter conferences.

The London Association for the Teaching of English has written to heads of English in the capital's secondaries, urging them to push the NUT to boycott KS3 tests. The annual conference of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics will be urged to back a chairman's motion to scrap KS1 tests and league tables.

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