New Labour tries to block teachers’ test boycott

A story from the school sector that will interest many FE and HE activists, taken from Solidarity. Support the NUT!

Primary school head teachers, members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) will boycott the SATs tests due on 10-13 May.

They will lock up the test papers when they receive them, before 10 May, and not issue them.

Labour schools minister Ed Balls has staged an apt finale to his term in office by urging school governors to bypass the head teacher and enforce the hated tests, maybe even by instructing the head teacher to stay off school during the test period!

On 16 April the NUT and NAHT announced their ballot results. The result of the NUT ballot was:

Total number of ballot papers returned: 2,478 (turnout 33.8%)
Number voting “yes”: 1,853 (74.9%)
Number voting “no”: 622 (25.1%)

The result of the NAHT ballot was:

Total number of ballot papers returned: 8,755 (turnout 49.7%)
Number voting “yes”: 5360 (61.3%)
Number voting “no”: 3386 (38.7%)

The unions say that SATs are bad for teachers, bad for children and bad for education. They advocate instead a system of assessment that highlights what children can do, rather than focussing on failure.

• Australian teachers’ unions, who voted to boycott the similar NAPLAN tests around the same time, have been legally prohibited from doing so by the Industrial Relations Commission, but have decided to defy the IRC: see here.

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