By Sadie Robinson
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2550

NUT union backs ballots for a boycott of the hated Sats tests in primary schools

This article is over 7 years, 2 months old
Issue 2550
Delegates at this years NUT conference in Cardiff
Delegates at this year’s NUT conference in Cardiff (Pic: Socialist Worker)

NUT members voted overwhelmingly for ballots aimed at boycotting the hated Sats tests next year.

The tests have nothing to do with helping children learn and instead are used to rank schools in league tables and attack teachers.

Delegates instructed the union to hold an internal ballot of all NUT primary school members during the autumn term to judge the backing for a boycott. An official ballot could then be held in the spring of 2018.

Delegates also committed the union to balloting head teachers who are in the NUT.

Jess Edwards, a national executive committee member, moved the motion. She told Socialist Worker, “We’ve always had a difficulty because of the law. It says you have to take action within a month of balloting.

“And while Sats take place in June, the preparation starts months in advance in September.

“What we’ve got now is a strategy that says we’re going to ask all our members in September whether they are prepared to boycott. It sets out a much clearer framework for how we will be able to deliver that boycott in June.”


Chris Ayton, a primary teacher from Manchester, won a standing ovation for his speech in favour of a boycott.

“I don’t want to crush children so they’ll be exploited by big business—that isn’t the point of teaching,” he said.

“It’s our responsibility not to do that to our children.

“I boycotted the Sats on two separate occasions. The last time we called it off to show goodwill. We’ve been showing goodwill for 20 years—where’s it got us? Now is the time for action.”

Chris told Socialist Worker, “When union leaders want a boycott to happen, it has happened. It’s more to do with the political mood than the technicalities.

“And now I think the mood has shifted. The fight over cuts will be crucial.”

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