Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/319/9710
Stand Together To Scrap The SATS
FOR THE last month, teachers in Coventry have been campaigning against SATs. We have been leafleting schools and talking to parents on the school gates as well as organising stalls on Saturdays. Pupils are eager to come and share their experiences.
Jane Nellist, Coventry Teacher
We have had a magnificent response from parents. Parents have become increasingly unhappy about the stress that their children have been put under by these tests at 7, 11 and 14. Whilst they have been putting their faith in teachers, there is almost a relief when we explain that we oppose the tests and that we want to boycott them.
Parents are eager to sign the petition and read the arguments against SATs tests. One parent put it well. She said "If you guys are against it then it must be bad."
We have organised a public meeting in Coventry to bring together all those opposed to the SATs. Everyone is welcome. We have invited councillors, MPs, head teachers to come to our meeting as well as parents and teachers.
If we aim to scrap these tests, then we must stand together. The National Union of Teachers has just completed a survey of all its members. These will yet again confirm that teachers are opposed to SATs and that they undermine our professionalism as teachers. We don't want to teach to the test! We don't want to see the curriculum being squeezed! And we don't want League Tables!
Very soon, England will be alone in its insistence on SATs and league tables. In Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland there are moves to reform the system and scrap the standard tests and league tables. There are huge discussions about what's the best way for teachers to assess their pupils - with a resounding rejection of the current system.
In November, ballot papers on the boycott will be sent out to members. There are huge questions facing teachers across England and Wales. Will the NUT leadership hesitate? - that looks unlikely.
Will the government move to rule that the boycott is illegal? - very possibly.
Will the government introduce further reforms and suggest a review of the educational practice in England? - hardly likely, they are keen to stick to a diet of targets, testing and tables.
Will teachers support the boycott? - absolutely certainly!
Monday 20 October 7.30pm
Methodist Central Hall, Coventry.
In The Socialist 18 October 2003:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
War and occupation
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis