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Teachers in United Kingdom boycotting tests

With the support of a growing number of parents, teachers in the United Kingdom have decided to boycott the national tests in Great Britain. Much of the information about this important action has been provided across the USA by Monty Neill of Fair Test (the Center for Fair and Open Testing, www.fairtest,org. Those wanting additional information can also access the websites of the British teacher unions. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) can be found on the Web at www.teachers.org.uk.

According to a recent article entitled "Teachers vote to fight SATs!"...

"Head teachers have voted overwhelmingly to boycott SATs tests, which unions condemned as ‘focusing on failure’.

Teaching unions are also deeply opposed to the league tables drawn up from the results of the tests.

Margaret Morrissey of the Parents Outloud website said: ‘We fully support the teacher unions’ vote to boycott SATs tests and hope politicians will now listen to the majority voice of parents and teachers.’

In a joint statement yesterday the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) announced successful results in their ballots of leadership group members to boycott SATs in 2010.

The joint statement said: ‘Clear majorities in both unions voted to support action.

‘The ballots focused on leadership members because of the immediate impact on the terms and conditions of those members. ‘Both unions’ executives will be meeting next week to take decisions on any action to boycott SATs in 2010.

‘Action would start on Tuesday 4 May. SATs are scheduled to take place in schools from 10-13 May.

‘The NUT and NAHT’s educational campaign against SATs continues.

‘SATs in their current form are bad for teachers, bad for children and bad for education.

‘The NUT and NAHT are supportive of a system of assessment that highlights what children can do rather than focusing on failure.’ NUT General Secretary Christine Blower said: ‘We would like to see the next government introduce a national sampling system for English and mathematics tests in year 6, which they have already done for science in year 6 and for all subjects in year 9.

‘A sampling system would give a national picture of pupil achievement without identifying individual schools or children.

‘Parents would still find out how their child is progressing.

‘Reports to parents would come from teacher assessment, as is currently done in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.’

NAHT General Secretary Mick Brookes said: ‘This is a significant result for the NAHT, we have not conducted a national ballot in a quarter of a century.

‘This ballot and the impending action was entirely avoidable.

‘Both the NAHT and NUT put forward a viable alternative for 2010 that would have produced a more accurate summary of a child’s learning journey, would have reduced bureaucracy and would have saved the £23 million spent on this year’s administrative arrangements.

‘This system is a profligate waste of taxpayers’ money.’

The result of the NUT ballot was as follows:

Total number of ballot papers returned: 2,478 (turnout 33.8 per cent); total number of spoiled papers: three; number voting ‘YES’: 1,853 (74.9 per cent); number voting ‘NO’: 622 (25.1 per cent).

The result of the NAHT ballot was as follows:

Total number of ballot papers returned: 8,755 (turnout 49.7 per cent); total number of spoiled papers: nine; number voting ‘YES’: 5,360 (61.3 per cent); number voting ‘NO’: 3,386 (38.7 per cent).

Together, the two unions represent heads in about 80 per cent of England’s 17,000 primary schools. The unions insist any boycott would be industrial action and would not amount to a strike. 



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