Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 31 May 2003

Education: SATS tests

Clarke Fails To Stem Opposition

ONLY FIVE weeks after the National Union of Teachers' (NUT) unanimous decision to boycott SATS, and nearly a year before pupils next sit these iniquitous tests in 2004, Charles Clarke has announced changes to the primary curriculum. It's a vain attempt to stem the tide of opposition.

Linda Taaffe

In a document "Excellence and Enjoyment" Clarke has decreed that children WILL enjoy school - but - tests, targets and tables are here to stay!

He will make changes to next year's tests for seven year olds, but won't do away with tests. He will enable schools to set their own "robust" targets for 11 year olds (rather than the LEA) but retain the system of targets. He will make some alterations to how league tables are formulated, but leave the tables in place.

This cuts no ice with teachers. As long as scores are generated, whether by class teachers, examiners or even electronic markers, there will still remain numbers to be crunched.

What happened to using "words" to describe a child's progress? Why does everything have to be converted into numbers? Teachers feel this narrow test data is being turned back on them and their schools in many negative ways from OFSTED inspections to performance related pay.

The children suffer as well. At NUT Conference many delegates declared themselves no longer prepared to pass this pressure on to children they teach. This review won't make that pressure go away.

Nothing less than the abolition of testing will do. However, NUT members got a modest ripple of gratification that this government has revealed just a glimpse of the jitters, all due to their collective decision.

The NUT National Executive welcomed Clarke's acknowledgement that there's a problem, but reaffirmed its commitment to boycott SATS. Plans are now being drawn up to get the campaign underway.

This campaign could create a huge problem for Blair. It has already drawn wide support from parents, support staff, academics, authors and even some of the media. Parents might be prepared to withdraw their children from these tests as part of a mass action if teachers are threatened with legal action over a boycott.

A community campaign linked with a major trade union could see the dismantling of tests, which are the nuts and bolts of the whole edifice of targets and tables.

A victory in education could have implications for hospitals, also bedevilled by the same number-crunching regimes. In fact New Labour's approach to the management of workers is under attack.

That's the real reason why Clarke made these changes. Teachers and parents should now press home their advantage.

School support staff lobby

SCHOOL SUPPORT staff who are only paid during term time will be holding a protest rally and lobbying parliament on 5 June.

These workers, members of UNISON, GMB and TGWU, are low-paid and often aren't able to claim Job Seekers' Allowance during the school holidays. Access to sick pay and other employment rights are often denied them.

The unions are submitting a joint national claim to the employers, calling for term-time working to be used only on a voluntary basis.

Further details on

STUDENTS AND teachers at Greenford High School, west London spoke to the socialist about SATS.

Teachers, support assistants, parents, school students and anyone else interested in this campaign is invited to a meeting on 28 June, 11am-3.30pm.

Meet at South Camden School, Charrington Street, London WC1 (10 minutes from Euston and Kings Cross.) Information from

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 31 May 2003:

School Cuts Wreck Our Future

Building A Fighting Leadership For The PCS

End Low Pay In The NHS

Strike Wave Rocks Europe

French workers' protest: Building For A General Strike

Israel/Palestine: Behind Sharon's 'Change Of Heart'

Education: SATS tests

G8 Summit: Protesting Against Imperialism And Its Corporate Agenda

After the Scottish elections: How Is Socialism To Be Won?

India: Massive General Strike Against Privatisation

Drop All Charges Against Day X Detainees


Home   |   The Socialist 31 May 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleMood for a fightback at education conferences

triangleEd Balls: 'Speaking Out' for capitalism

triangleEducation for all - not exam factories

triangleEducation: fightback needed

triangleLet kids be kids: children 'strike' against Sats tests


triangleNasty party out the Tories

triangleUniversity of Leeds workers walk out

triangleFreshers week campaigning reports

triangleFight for free education


triangleYoung Socialists launched in Greater Manchester

triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay

triangleSchool spend is behind eastern Europe


triangleWorkers' struggles in Peru: eyewitness report

trianglePublic sector wages - Pay up!


triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap


triangleDon't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Justice for Tube cleaners demo



Salford Unison condemns pay cuts


Royal Mail

CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike



Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP



Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish



No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!



Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg


John McDonnell

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation



Join the Orgreave Halloween rally



Workplace news in brief


Democratic rights

Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights


Northern Ireland

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs



Too much to cross the Mersey


Royal Mail

Set for national strike action



Supporting the general strike in Catalonia

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice