As annual conference season approaches for the teaching unions, a number of teaching unions are expected to vote for a boycott of primary level Sats tests.
National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) are both expected to get overwhelming 'yes' votes when they push for a boycott of the primary level version of the Sats tests. Sats tests are used for 11 yr olds at the end of primary school, and until 2008, for14 yr olds at the end of the secondary Key Stage 3 phase.
Sats tests have always been controversial, with the head of the Qualification and Curriculum Authority having resigned last year over the shoddy handling of Sats marking by ETS Europe, a private firm, which resulted in prolonged stress for pupils through delaying of marks. Following this, Key Stage 3 Sats were abolished.
Many teachers feel that 'teaching to the test' has undermined any efforts to promote understanding and enjoyment of the subjects studied, and places unreasonable amounts of pressure on children, and on teachers through school league tables. The prescriptive nature of such testing has left even less room in an already crowded curriculum to do practical, interactive or hands-on work across a variety of subjects.
The expected boycott will cause havoc for the league tables, though many teachers think league tables should have been scrapped long ago. NAHT represent 28,000 members, while NUT represents almost 300,000 teachers. The unions are expected to acheive 'yes' votes in support of the proposed boycott at their annual conferences later this month.