Don't defame the boycott bravehearts

28th May 2010 at 01:00

Last week's editorial, "Let's pretend the boycott never happened" (May 21), not only misses the point, but could be misconstrued as being offensive to the thousands of NUT and NAHT members who took their courage in their hands and refused to administer the Sats this year.

It misses the point because our prime objective was never to get the headlines, but to further the campaign to achieve a methodology for assessment that does not mar the education of children in Years 5 and 6. Indeed, the busy political scene helped rather than hindered our cause. While we were encouraged to provide provocative commentary, our considered professional position is that we now have a fresh opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue with the new administration. We did not want to cause undue embarrassment as a prologue to that negotiation.

The editorial could be misconstrued as offensive to those who did take action because they did so under extreme duress, having been subject to threats and intimidation from the (former) schools secretary (Ed Balls) and his acolytes. We salute the courage of colleagues who, despite being isolated both in their schools and in some cases in their communities, defied the system to further the campaign for positive change.

Sadly, in some isolated instances, that bullying and intimidation continues, with local authority officials seeking to impose irrational sanctions and engage in pompous defamation of those who have stood up for a better system.

The final commentary in the editorial was redeeming; we know that the tests in their current form are worse than useless. Fortunately, the vast majority of parents and governors at schools taking action thought so too. There will be more than 100,000 children moving to new schools with information based on their teachers' expert assessment. We think that will give them a better start than carrying the baggage of a Sat score that is suspect in its accuracy and reliability.

Mick Brookes, General secretary, NAHT

Christine Blower, General secretary, NUT.

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