The Green Party are very clear on this – we would abolish external SATS, and trust the professional judgement of teachers to assess their pupils in a much less pressurized environment. As Green Party national spokesperson for Education – and also a parent of 3 primary-aged boys and a working teacher – I have every sympathy with parents making the tough decision to withdraw their children from school.
Education at primary school level must be about a broad, child-centred curriculum with a wide variety of experiences and opportunities which will engender a love of learning and equip them for life. This over-emphasis on external testing is zapping the creativity out of our teaching and learning, thereby stifling the inquisitive nature of our children and limiting their future prospects.
The Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign has led the strike, saying that English children are ‘over-tested, over-worked and in a school system that places more importance of test results and league tables than children’s happiness and joy of learning’. It is a clear message to education secretary Nicky Morgan and her department that enough is enough, and we should not put our children through such a narrow and high-stake learning experience.
I fully support families getting behind our main teaching unions who have repeatedly called for an end to the over testing in our schools. Even the head of the usually moderate NAHT (Headteachers’ union) Russell Hobby has criticised the tests: “Testing has a role to play in the assessment of children, but the poorly designed tests and last-minute changes we have seen this year do not add value to teaching.”
I back the campaign against over testing of our seven year olds. I know that those children out of school on May 3rd will have a happy and enriching experience away from mock tests and box ticking.
The government needs to listen.