At the National Education Union conference in April, left activists succeeded in winning agreement to organise a ballot to boycott high-stakes testing in primary schools. For more see this article by Lewisham NEU activist Jade Baker.
This is potentially a very big deal. Let’s mobilise our Labour Parties to support the school workers. The following motion was written by primary school NEU activists also active in Labour.
No to primary school testing: support the NEU campaign to boycott
This Labour Party notes:
1. The Children’s Society described Britain as suffering a children’s mental health crisis.
2. 8 out of 10 primary school leaders report an increase in mental health issues in children around testing time.
3. That statutory testing in primary schools has massively increased. There are Phonics screening in Year 1, SATs in Year 2, Times tables tests in Year 4 and SATs in Year 6. The government intends to introduce Baseline testing in Reception.
4. In addition to get children ‘test ready’ and to ‘monitor progress’ many primary schools have lots of additional non-statutory testing. Some schools run tests in 4 subjects (reading, spelling, maths and punctuation and grammar) every half-term, meaning that 6 weeks of 39 are given over to testing.
5. 93% of teachers said that SATs significantly increased teacher workload at their school.
6. Evidence suggesting that teaching to the test narrows the curriculum and the educational experience of children, focussing on labelling not learning.
This Labour Party further notes:
1. That the National Education Union is holding an indicative ballot of all its members in primary schools to boycott high stakes testing. The ballot opens on 4 June and will close 2 July.
This Labour Party welcomes:
1. Jeremy Corbyn’s commitment that an incoming Labour Government will abolish SATs.
This Labour Party believes:
1. That testing in primary has a massively detrimental effect on children’s mental health.
2. That school workers are leaving their jobs because they do not want to administer this system of testing.
3. That the tests are focussed on measuring and labelling schools and children not about what children need to develop their skills.
4. That we cannot wait for a change of government to get rid of this abusive testing system.
5. That the collective action of school workers to end this system is to be encouraged and applauded.
This Labour Party resolves:
1. To do everything we can to support the NEU ballot and get as large a ‘yes’ vote as possible.
2. To call on all our elected representatives at every level to publicly, clearly and unequivocally support the NEU ballot and a ‘yes’ vote.
3. To ask all our local branches to invite speakers from the local NEU district to speak about the campaign and ballot at their meetings.
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