Overwhelming majority of primary teachers want next term's SATs cancelled, NUT poll finds

26th March 2016 at 00:37
Primary

Almost nine in ten primary teachers believe educatuion secretary, Nicky Morgan, should cancel national tests due to be taken next term, a poll has found. 

A survey from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) reveals that 86 per cent of primary school teachers believe this summer’s KS1 and KS2 tests should be dropped with just over six weeks to go until the first test.

This weekend at the union's annual conference in Brighton, delegates will consider a priority motion calling on the education secretary to cancel the tests in primary schools - with one test due to start as early as May 10. 

The poll, taken over two days last week, of more than 5,200 primary teachers in England, also revealed that almost two-thirds (61 per cent) believe the government should scrap baseline assessment for reception children.

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.

The survey revealed that three quarters of primary teachers also say their workload has increased since the Government launched its 2014 Workload Challenge - an attempt to combat increasing and intensifying work levels across the country's classrooms, with as many as one third (30 per cent) saying workload has increased "significantly".

Findings show that almost half (48 per cent) of primary teachers are considering leaving the profession within the next two years, while 86 per cent say their morale has declined in the last two years.  

On the figures showing that three quarters of teachers' morale is low or very low , Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, called it"exceedingly dispiriting."

She added: "The Government is implementing changes to primary assessment in a chaotic way which has exacerbated teachers’ unsustainable workload and undermined their morale and motivation."

On the overwhelming support for Nicky Morgan to cancel this summer’s tests, Ms Blower added: “The Secretary of State should listen seriously to this very grave warning, especially at a time when she is proposing in her White Paper to introduce yet another set of top-down changes.

"Primary teachers are desperately worried that current impositions are already reducing children’s motivation to learn and expect too much from children before they are ready. If Government doesn’t listen, the situation is going to get very much worse, and almost half of these teachers are saying they may leave their profession.”

A key focus of the NUT conference this weekend will be KS1 and KS2 tests and baseline assessments.

The union will discuss the prospect of a boycott of all primary school tests, warning that a "testing culture" is damaging children.

Another motion will call on the NUT's executive to ballot members in primary schools for a boycott of baseline tests this year – potentially before the end of summer term.

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