Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/611/8826
Boycotting the 2010 SATS in schools
At the end of January, I attended a training meeting for teachers' union NUT reps in London. Only a day or two previously, a joint NUT/NAHT press statement had been issued stating that both unions will be balloting for action "to frustrate the administration of SATs".
Louise Cuffaro, Newham NUT
However, it appears that only NUT 'leadership group' members (together with NAHT members) will be balloted.
NUT conference voted to support a boycott of the 2010 SATs. Most reps and NUT members expected strong guidance to be issued and publicised in time to enable them to resist all SATs preparation from September. But no such guidance came from the NUT executive.
Inevitably, heads have pressurised year six teachers to carry out mock SATs tests, to hold booster classes, to give up PE, art, trips etc.
The lack of guidance for NUT members to resist the preparation process strongly, means reps felt unsure that this ballot will be won. It's not usually the manager members of any union that boldly carry out industrial action!
However, it is possible for NUT headteachers, together with their NAHT colleagues, to be persuaded to vote and take decisive action so long as a serious and public strategy is embarked on urgently and publicised to staff, parents and governors.
This should include issuing urgent guidance and support to year six staff to help them resist the preparation process. Also all members should be asked to vote to say they will be prepared to take action to support anyone who is victimised. They should be given advice on how to resist if a head tries to pressure them to administer the SATs.
54 reps at the meeting signed a letter to NUT general secretary Christine Blower with our concerns. Other NUT members should make their views known to the NUT executive before they meet on 25 February.
In The Socialist 10 February 2010:
Unison general secretary election
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
PCS young members
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
War and occupation