Delegates in attendance at the National Union of Teacher’s conference yesterday rejected a motion to ballot members in to oppose primary school tests for the 2017-18 academic year, the BBC reports.
Delegates also voted to not “support and promote a parent boycott” of this year’s national curriculum tests, known as Sats.
The vote was a somewhat shock result, as it followed two sessions of argument in favour of action.
Sasha Elliot, a teacher from east London, opposed the motion saying:
“I’ve been coming to conference for over a decade, I’ve made speeches about the wickedness of Sats, ending Sats has to remain one of our union’s highest priorities.
But I’d like to think that we’ve learned from our past efforts to end these Sats, we have to admit we’ve been unsuccessful. This motion presents us with some serious problems… It’s a waste of a precious ballot.”
Speaking in favour of action, Nottinghamshire teacher Gareth Jones said:
“It feels to me that we’ve been preparing for action since I’ve been in the union in 2007.
If we haven’t prepared enough for this action by now, frankly, we never will. During this time we’ve been preparing, thousands of children have had their education destroyed by the cruel tyranny of these assessments.”
‘ATL back boycott’
The debate began on Sunday but was delayed twice due to strict conference timing rules.
On the contrary, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers voted in favour of a boycott of Sats tests in the summer of 2018, at its annual Easter conference.
The NUT’s rejection of a boycott comes just weeks after the government announced plans to scrap national curriculum tests for seven-year-olds.
The Department for Education is currently consulting on a range of proposals regarding primary school testing.
It maintains that parents have a right to expect testing in schools to show whether their children are leaving primary school with the right skills in maths and literacy.
In 2016, the first set of Sats on the new national curriculum were taken by pupils in England’s schools.
For Year 6 pupils, those at the end of their primary education, the pass rate fell from 80% in 2015 to 53%.