Parents to take children out of school in campaign against primary testing

Thousands of parents have joined the fight against Sats in schools across the country.

Eleanor Busby

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A group of parents will take their children out of school for a day next month to support teachers and schools who want to boycott Sats, and national assessments for infants.

Almost 13,000 parents have signed a petition to end the key stage 1 national curriculum assessments – which take place in May – as they have had “enough of endless testing”. 

Parents are joining forces on Tuesday 3 May for “a day of fun learning out of school” to support a return to teacher-led assessments that value “individuality and creativity” in the school setting.

The opposition from parents comes after the NUT teaching union called on education secretary Nicky Morgan to cancel this year's Sats tests.

NUT delegates strongly backed a series of motions calling for primary assessments to be scrapped and threatened to stage a national boycott if the government did not act at the union’s annual conference over Easter.

Let Our Kids Be Kids, a group of Year 2 parents who launched the campaign a fortnight ago, believe that keeping children off school for a day presents a “very real option for parents to firmly show support for a Sats boycott”.

And since its launch, a similar petition calling for a boycott of Year 6 Sats has emerged. Eight hundred parents have expressed support for a day of action on 3 May against the key stage 2 tests.

The date was chosen as a probable non-testing day in the hope that the campaign will prevent the tests and assessments from having to take place. Parents have already begun organising alternative, fun learning activities – such as picnics in local parks, visits to National Trust properties and outings to the beach.

In a letter to schools ahead of 3 May, the Let Our Kids Be Kids group has stressed that it is "a show of support to heads and teachers everywhere that they will have overwhelming parental enthusiasm for a boycott of Sats and a return to a curriculum based on the joy and wonder of learning”.

The campaign group has produced template letters for parents to use, which are available on their website to explain the exceptional circumstance as to why their child will not be at school.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We trust teachers to administer all tests, but particularly those at Key Stage 1, in a way that does not put undue pressure on pupils.

"Tests are in pupils’ own interests and help teachers and parents identify where additional support is needed so we can make sure all children leave primary school having mastered the basics of literacy and numeracy.”

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Eleanor Busby

Eleanor Busby is a reporter at TES 

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