Teachers to call for ballot on boycotting baseline tests for four-year-olds

The Independent is reporting that England’s largest teaching union will call for a ballot on boycotting baseline tests for four-year-olds when they meet for their annual conference next weekend.

…A motion before the [NUT] conference says: “The formal testing of children at primary school is about school and teacher accountability and has very little to do with the children being tested.”

It adds: “Testing … narrows the curriculum and limits the educational experience for pupils.”

This autumn’s baseline tests are one of three new tests for primary schools. Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, has also announced the return of national curriculum tests for seven-year-olds. 

These were abandoned under Labour because it was thought that seven was too young an age for children to undergo a formal externally marked test. Last week’s White Paper on the future of education also held out the prospect of times tables tests for pupils aged 11, in their last year of primary schooling.

In addition, children undergo a controversial phonics test at the age of six to check their reading skills. This test has been ridiculed by teachers for including made-up words. There are also the national curriculum tests in reading, writing and mathematics for 11-year-olds.

Next weekend’s conference will hear calls for a formal ballot on boycotting the baseline tests – with union leaders being urged to follow that up with a ballot on boycotting all other primary school tests this year…

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: “It frankly beggars belief that Nicky Morgan is not listening to the voice of the profession on the chaos that the Government has caused in the assessment system.

“Baseline testing has been opposed from the outset by great swathes of the early years sector.

“This is not the way to get the best from children…”

More at: Teachers to call for ballot on boycotting baseline tests for four-year-olds



The DfE response is that parents expect them to ensure their children are pushed to meet their potential and they say they are disappointed that the NUT is taking this approach rather than working with them as other unions have.

What do you think? Would you like to see a boycott of baseline tests or not?

Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…


Should teachers boycott primary baseline testing?

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  1. These tests have no value apart from finding a base from which to judge rates of progress based on the false assumption that children progress at the same rate regardless of starting points.  The results be used to judge schools.   They direct teachers’ attention away from settling little children into school.

  2. Dai_James1942

    SchoolsImprove You don’t need to test them. Their educational futures can be accurately predicted from socio-economic data

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Whilst the thinking is right there’s a real danger that (non-teacher) public support will disappear if everything is opposed

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