Test ban would be boon not bust

7th November 2003 at 00:00
Music specialist Andrew Read is convinced his daughter's education would thrive under a Sats boycott.

The former teacher at Banga Bandhu school in Tower Hamlets, east London, has administered the tests and would prefer his daughter Jasmine did not take them at key stage 1.

He said: "I disagree with Charles Clarke's comments that a boycott would disrupt children's education.

"If anything, I feel my daughter's education would flourish. I would be delighted if her teachers decided to vote for a boycott. I'm certain she would receive a better education."

Mr Read, now a part-time music specialist at schools in Lewisham and Tower Hamlets, considered pulling his six-year-old daughter out of the tests.

"Unfortunately Sats are now so integrated in her education it would be neither practical nor legally possible to do so."

Hazel Danson, a teacher at Clough Head junior and infants in Huddersfield, says a boycott will be good for the education system. And it is backed by her colleagues.

She said: "A boycott will mean the whole way of education will enter a new golden era: trusting the teachers to teach."

Heads meanwhile have admitted a boycott would make life difficult.

David Fann, head of Sherwood primary in Preston, Lancashire, said: "If my key stage 1 staff boycotted the test, I would support them because I could not physically administer the tests. If they are not prepared to do them, then no one else in school is fit or able to do them."

But Dave Pannett and Angeles Walford, both council members of the National Association of Head Teachers, said they would try to soldier on without staff help.

Mr Pannett admitted: "There would be nothing I could do about it. All I could say is 'Thanks for dropping me in it'."

The headteacher of Elsicar Holy Trinity primary said: "It would be a big management problem for me."

And Mrs Walford, head of the Priory Church of England primary in Wimbledon, south London, said: "I would carry on with the Sats if my teachers decided to support a boycott. I doubt they would but a boycott would make life extremely difficult and it would be very disturbing for the children and the parents."

Monica Goult, head of Kings Road primary, Old Trafford, has no problem with the tests but objects to the publication of league tables.

"The Sats are not any big deal for us. I'm not bothered by them and none of the staff are either. We don't really have stressed pupils either. But I think it's appalling schools are judged on data. I'd like to see league tables scrapped."

Ann Howsden, head of Putteridge infants school in Luton, said: "We need to hold discussions, I don't think a boycott is the answer. I doubt my teachers will support it."

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