We don't need chapter and verse from the arty set on Sats

7th May 2010 at 01:00

At a time when the professionals in education are asking the politicians to treat them like professionals and pull back from micro-managing schools, I regret very much that the NAHT and NUT have decided to boycott the Sats on the basis of a minority of their members voting in favour (a large majority of members in both unions did not vote).

It is doubly regretful that they have announced this decision so late in the day when pupils have been prepared and are raring to go. Personally, I think such action is unethical.

It is to the credit of the majority of primary headteachers that they will be administering the tests. However, a substantial majority will be sitting on their hands in the week of May 10.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the vast majority of school governors are against such a boycott. Notwithstanding, it is quite wrong of Schools Secretary Ed Balls to exhort governors to instruct their headteachers to "remain absent" from their schools when the tests are due to take place so that other competent persons could see they go ahead. First, the regulations, which he brought into play, make the "rarely cover" dictum a huge stumbling block.

Secondly, there is a huge question mark over the legality of the union action. We will have the answer only if the DCSF challenges the unions in the courts.

Thirdly, by acceding to the behest of Balls, governors are placing whatever good relationships they have with their headteachers at risk.

David Sassoon, Director, Schools Support Services, Finchley, London.

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