Parents Defending Education is launching a national pledge against testing in
primary schools. The aim is to help prepare the ground for action against testing –
including a possible boycott of SATS – in primary schools from Sept 2016.
We want 2016 to be the last year of useless tests.
There is overwhelming professional evidence showing the negative impact of many
of the tests. As Michael Rosen notes
“Learning is getting shrunk down to yes/no answers to fit what the tests
require. Teaching to the test should have no place in a 21 st century education
The impact on our children and on the wider school system is causing concern not
only among parents but across the teaching profession. The government seem
impervious to detailed evidence such as provided by the Cambridge Primary Review.
Our primary schools are being turned into ‘exam factories’. Routine and rote learning
is replacing curiosity and excitement. It is also creating additional problems for many
children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). There is also evidence of testing
having a negative impact on children’s mental health.
The pledge follows on from the successful ‘parents strike’ organised by Let Our Kids
Be Kids in May 2016. Many parents are exasperated at the refusal of the
government to take note of our concerns or listen to the professionals. We feel that
‘enough is enough’. Whilst we recognise that government has a role in education, we
believe that for too long now, a narrow ideological version of education has been
forced on teachers – often against their will & professional judgement.
That is why the pledge is designed to enable parents to get involved and have a say
about the way in which our children are educated. It aims to help re-balance the
debate in education giving parents a powerful and clear voice.
We are encouraging parents in every school to get together, to organise meetings
and to debate the key issues. We recognise that in many schools head teachers and
governors will be sympathetic and supportive. We hope they and other educations
campaigns and unions will help facilitate the pledge.
In September we will announce the next stage of action. The government has plenty
of time to listen, review the evidence and drop the tests before Sept 2016. It has
already announced a partial u-turn on the White Paper. It needs to take action now
to cancel tests and allow the profession to debate and establish an assessment
system that will benefit all children.