Parents and children march against plans to test four-year-olds

Protesters cuddling teddy bears, eating crisps, wearing pink tutus and banging tambourines have delivered a petition with 68,000 signatures to No 10, calling on the government to scrap plans to introduce standardised assessment for children in reception class, The Guardian is reporting.

Organised by More Than a Score, a campaign group comprised of parents, teachers and education experts who believe children are overtested in England, the march attracted more than 200 parents, toddlers, teachers and early years experts from across the country, including Durham, Devon, Cornwall, Sheffield, Liverpool, and Stafford.

They were protesting against government proposals to introduce baseline assessment in reception classes at schools in England, to test the communication, literacy and maths skills of four-year-olds. Raymond Mensah, from Lewisham in south-east London, joined the protest with his sons Daniel, three, and Joseph, two.

“The test is absolutely out of order,” he said. “It’s not possible to test a four-year-old child. It doesn’t make any sense. They need to give them time, they need to allow the children to grow. It’s too early to test. I absolutely don’t want it.”

The 20-minute test will involve each child being taken aside by a teacher, who will conduct the assessment on a tablet. It will take place within weeks of starting school and the information will be used to measure progress throughout primary school. Costing £10m, the scheme is due to be piloted from September and rolled out nationally next year.

Many teachers argue it is impossible to reliably test four-year-olds. When the government trialled reception assessments in 2015, there were complaints that some children became distressed.

The government claims the latest iteration of the assessment is not a test, but a way of holding schools to account. “It does not have a pass mark, and there is no reason for parents or teachers to prepare pupils ahead of the assessment, which has been carefully designed with children in mind,” a Department for Education spokesperson said.

Read more here Parents and children march against plans to test four-year-olds

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