Teachers threaten to boycott ‘meaningless’ primary literacy tests

Delegates at the NUT conference has urged the union to hold talks with other teaching unions with a view to boycotting the tests next year. The union’s members would need to be balloted for the action to go ahead. This is from the Guardian…

The tests leave little time for art, music and books and make children feel like failures, teachers argue.

Since 1995, children have been required to sit literacy and numeracy tests in their last year of primary school. This year, they include a spelling, grammar and punctuation paper.

Ministers have also introduced a reading test to be taken by six-year-olds. This uses phonics – a system that encourages children to use sounds to decipher words.

Joan Edwards, a primary teacher from Birmingham, said Michael Gove, the education secretary, wanted a “world without music, without art, without creativity”.

“We as teachers want a more balanced education for our children. We want children to develop a love of reading, not reading for a test,” she said.

Philipa Harvey, a primary teacher from Croydon, said the tests were too prescriptive.

The NUT’s motion stated that the union “condemned the manipulation of the primary curriculum and teaching methods through the imposition of unnecessary tests, in particular Year 1 phonics screening and the Year 6 spelling, punctuation and grammar test”.

Christine Blower, the NUT’s general secretary, said the tests would leave many children feeling a failure.

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