Teachers to devise alternative to 'toxic' Sats

NEU delays plans to ballot for a boycott of high-stakes primary school assessments

Amy Gibbons

School test

Teachers have voted to launch a "vigorous campaign" to "reignite" calls to replace "toxic" Sats tests.

At the annual NEU teaching union conference, delegates voted this morning for an amended motion to develop an alternative primary assessment system, to be launched in autumn 2021, by 818 votes to 43. There were also 21 abstentions.

The original motion stated that the union should "ballot all primary school members to boycott statutory high-stakes testing in their schools for the school year 2021-22".

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However, the conference voted for an amendment, to first "mount a vigorous campaign, using the fact that no statutory primary assessments have taken place for two years, to reignite our campaign for an alternative assessment strategy".

This will be followed by "taking action, up to and including balloting primary members to boycott statutory high-stakes testing".

The amendment said the campaign should include:

  • Consulting primary members in the summer term 2021.
  • Developing an alternative system in consultation with members and academics.
  • Holding mass activist meetings in autumn 2021 to launch our alternative.
  • Working with other education unions to build the campaign.
  • Then taking action, up to and including balloting primary members to boycott statutory high-stakes testing.

Mary Bousted, NEU joint-general secretary, said: "The pandemic has taught us bitter lessons about the consequences of inequality for health, life chances and wellbeing.

"Today, the union has set out the measures government should take to learn from the failures of the past and to open up our narrow, test-driven and restrictive education system so that it benefits all learners, from the early years to adulthood.

"The government's dogmatic belief in testing all primary pupils in order to monitor school performance is destroying children's enjoyment in learning and lowering the quality of education.

"The union will be campaigning to ensure that the government drops its plans to test all four-year-olds when they enter Reception class and gives up the idea of restoring Sats in 2022."

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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