SCHOOLS NorthEast response re: parental boycott of KS1 Sats

THE regional schools network, SCHOOLS NorthEast, has urged parents to protest directly to politicians regarding concerns over Key Stage 1 testing rather than taking their children out of school for the day.

SUMMIT 3Mike Parker, Director of SCHOOLS NorthEast, expressed concerns that the Government had ignored teachers and parents regarding the impact of new KS1 Sats. But, he advised parents not to remove pupils from school for the day as it didn’t impact on the testing.

Mr Parker said: “It is truly tragic that parents are driven to these extreme measures. The Government isn’t listening to the professionals so parents feel their only recourse is to boycott. But, KS1 tests can be held anytime during May so removing children won’t stop them sitting the tests. All it will do is take away a valuable day’s teaching time which will set those pupils back.

“We want parents to be proactive and to register their discontent. The best way to do this is to write to your local MPs, write to the Education Secretary and write to the Chairman of the Education Select Committee.”

SCHOOLS NorthEast has received considerable feedback from school leaders across the region who believe the Government needs to revisit KS1 testing as a priority.

Mr Parker added: “Schools aren’t opposed to moves to drive up standards but the leap in expectation is heaping pressure on teachers to drive pupils through the curriculum too quickly. The demands of the new curriculum are a considerable jump, with seven-year-olds now being taught what nine-year-olds previously had to learn.

“Head teachers are registering deep discontent with the current Government approach. In particular, the way KS1 Sats are assessed has changed from a system where there was a clear level for children to show progress against, to a national comparison. This doesn’t recognise what teachers have achieved with their pupils, it sets up a system in which half of children will be judged as being below average. The original purpose of KS1 testing was to identify the gaps in a pupil’s knowledge to support teacher assessment. Now it is being viewed by the Government as the ultimate means of marking.”

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