WE ARE primary school teachers in south London. Next week we will begin balloting to boycott the SATs tests.
SATs were unpopular when they were first introduced ten years ago by the Tories, and have become more and more unpopular with parents, pupils and teachers under New Labour.
The tests have led to a narrowing of the curriculum, even in reception classes.
The children have less time to play as the day is taken up by numeracy and literacy lessons rather than integrated topic-led learning.
In all key stages and in every subject the testing regime has led to a mechanised form of teaching and learning. There has been a reduction in subjects where many of our children can excel such as dance, drama, sport and art.
The campaign is a ray of hope for teachers and pupils. Teachers are asking the government to trust their professional judgment and end these useless tests.
Assessment is a vital part of teaching which already happens throughout the year, allows us to meet the individual needs of the children and helps in future planning.
We urge all teachers to campaign in their unions’ branches for a big yes vote. We also need parents and trade unionists to join with us in campaigning against these tests.
Sara Tomlinson and Abby Kerr
AS THE parent of a child at a primary school in Hackney, I am fully behind the decision by the teachers’ union to take action against the SATs tests.
We have schools and teachers which are doing their very best to give a future to our children. But the whole basis of schooling is distorted by the grim arrival of the tests with the regularity of a tolling bell.
I want my child to learn about so much more than a strictly defined set of testable facts. I want her to be confident and sure of herself, not someone who might be told she is a failure at seven or 11.
Teachers know best what action must be taken to improve a child’s experience of school.
I trust teachers to have much more rounded view of my child’s development than any national test.
Let us as parents try to show support for the teachers.
Talk to them, write them a letter, do a petition or go to a campaign meeting. Let us be together in a way that will help our children by getting rid of these SATs tests.
I also recommend to all the pamphlet Why We Must Stop the SATs, which I found very helpful.