Primary pupils across England went “on strike” on Tuesday in protest at controversial tests for six and seven-year-olds. Parents removed their children from school after more than 40,000 people signed a petition supporting a boycott of Year 2 Sats by teachers. The Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign organised the day of action in protest at children being “over-tested, over-worked and in a school system that places more importance on test results and league tables than children’s happiness and joy of learning”.
Teachers are spending extra time planning lessons on grammar for 11-year-olds because the concepts in key stage 2 tests are too “difficult”, according to one headteacher. Amanda Hulme, head of Claypool Primary School in Bolton, proposed a motion, passed at the NAHT heads’ union conference last week, calling for a review of all school assessment. She said she had to reteach herself complex grammar rules to prepare children for tests. “I have a degree in English language and there were a number of questions that I couldn’t answer,” she said.
The NAHT has also called on the government to give early years the same funding and status as the rest of the schools system. The union said that early years funding was “insufficient” and made it harder to improve the life chances of disadvantaged children. Russell Hobby, NAHT general secretary, called for an early years pupil premium equal to the £1,300 for primary pupils. The union also called for more emphasis to be placed on staff quality and qualifications in early years education.
Schoolchildren from across the country will join the likes of Caravaggio, Picasso and JMW Turner in having their artwork displayed in the National Gallery in London this summer. Every year, the National Gallery invites primary schools to use one of its paintings to act as a stimulus, and this year Thomas Gainsborough’s Mr and Mrs Andrews was chosen. The exhibition, called Take One Picture, will run from 8 June–25 September.
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