Parents due to take children out of school in SATs pupils' strike protest over 'stressful' exams
Schoolchildren will stage their very first “strike action” (Tuesday 3 May) in protest over SATs (Standard Assessment Tests) for six and seven-year-olds. A petition started by the Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign has been signed by nearly 40,000 people calling on teachers to boycott SATs tests for children at the end of Year 2.
SAT exams test a child’s progress in English, Maths and Science and are conducted at the end of infant school, primary school and in Year 9 across England. Campaigners say the focus on testing has left their children "over-tested, over-worked and in a school system that places more importance on test results and league tables than children's happiness and joy of learning".
“We want our kids to be kids again and enjoy learning for learning's sake not for Ofsted results or league table figures. Bring back the creativity and the fun - say goodbye to repetition and boredom!”
It also highlighted the stress caused to six and seven-year-olds who are now expected to sit “a whole week’s worth of exams” focused on comprehension and arithmetic. The campaign has put a form up on its website asking parents to record their participation. In an open letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan on their website, the campaign said it represented "the voice of parents across the country” who want an end to the exam regime now.
The ACP has raised concern previously about the effect on young children, of constant testing.
Heather Stewart, ACP Chair, in expressing her concern regarding the proposed testing of four and five- year-olds, said: "Child psychotherapists' training is steeped in close observation of babies and infants. They understand the importance of play, imagination and loving relationships in promoting healthy development. Testing and reducing children to a number at such an early stage of their lives seems not only misguided but wrong. There is no evidence that testing will help learning. It could however have a much more damaging impact on a child's sense of self and his or her own value.
"ACP members are mental health experts and our members would not support the added stress caused to children by testing when they are only just beginning to adjust to school and coping with a new environment."
Another ACP spokesperson suppported the ACP Chair by adding: "Measuring children so young, when the evidence clearly points to the fact that all children develop at their own pace, will show us little about their future potential. Some children will naturally progress later, it would be diffcult to see how this would be related to teaching or the quality of the school environment. Encouraging children to learn by being curious and through discovery, with a trusted adult, would have a much more significant effect of capacity to learn and thrive."
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