The NUT teachers’ union national executive will meet on 25 February to decide the terms and timing of a ballot on action over the hated Sats tests.
Primary school teachers and headteachers in both the NUT and NAHT unions voted overwhelmingly to support a boycott of Sats in indicative ballots last November.
Fighting the government on Sats challenges them on workload grounds and on educational grounds.
We know what makes education worthwhile and we are battling for the right to have some control over what is taught.
The pressure on schools to show “added value” means there are accusations that some schools fabricate results.
Primary school teacher and joint secretary of Lambeth NUT Sara Tomlinson told Socialist Worker, “I’ve heard members complain that they have handed in their foundation stage profile only to be told to change it because it doesn’t fit with the results in other years.
“We are either truly measuring what a child can do or we are producing data for the authorities to use for their own ends.
“Results can be used to show how well councillors are supposedly doing – or show how badly schools are doing so they can privatise them.They make teachers compete within and between schools.”
There are suggestions that the NUT executive will propose that the anti-union laws mean the ballot must only involve headteachers and deputy heads. The majority of primary school members would not be balloted.
This would be a serious mistake that could demobilise the union’s membership and isolate heads and deputies.
A number of primary NUT reps have produced an open letter calling on the union’s national executive to “ensure that all our primary members can be involved in the campaign, and a ballot to get rid of the Sats”.
As many members as possible, especially in primary schools, should be encouraged to sign and send this letter to our general secretary Christine Blower.
The open letter
Dear Executive Committee Member,
URGENT RE: SATS
This letter arises from a meeting held by London School Reps, at Hamilton House on the 29th January, following discussion around the joint NUT and NAHT press release of the 26th January.
It appears from the press release that the proposed action only concerns the physical administration of the SATs and, as classroom teachers are not contractually required to do this, the indication is that only those with that duty, i.e. heads, deputies and assistant heads, will be balloted.
The meeting wishes to express the following concerns and strongly urges the Executive to ensure that all members are able to participate.
- Only a small fraction of members will be involved
- Those who participate may be victimised as a result
- If the only action available to class teachers is to abandon their pupils on test days this will be extremely difficult for them.
- It’s not too late to call an immediate halt to the preparation of Y6 for SATs – We demand to be balloted on this point.
- ncluded in the ballot should be our willingness to take action in the event of victimisation of any members as a result of them boycotting the test.
We urge the Executive to give these concerns their full and prompt consideration. We look forward to hearing from you as a matter of the utmost urgency.
Amy Lassman, H’smith + Fulham
Terry Sullivan, East London
Download the » Open letter [26kb Word file]