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British primary teachers consider boycotting of tests

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The National Union of Teachers' (NUT) conference in Brighton has seen calls for a ballot that could potentially see teachers in primary schools across the country opt to boycott testing at this level, it has been reported. 

In recent weeks, it emerged that British schoolchildren in primary schools are among the most heavily tested across the whole of Europe, with warnings at the NUT conference that schools had become less about learning for the future and more about preparing pupils for "exam factory" style conditions. 

Delegates criticised "chaotic" changes to primary assessment as they voted to bring about a ballot on the boycott of tests taken by seven and 11 year olds and baseline tests.

Christine Blower, the union's leader, said the boycott would potentially come into play from the summer of 2017, while she also added that the NUT is calling on the Department for Education to put Sats on hold this year amid fears primary aged children are being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of exams. 

However, the government was quick to criticise the action, and said that a boycott would only "disrupt children's education", before adding that parents have a right to expect their children to be tested throughout their primary school years so they know they are making enough progress to succeed when they get to secondary school. 

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: "We want to see all children pushed to reach their potential. In order to do that, and to recognise the achievements of schools in the most challenging areas, we want to measure the progress that all pupils make as well as their overall attainment. 

"It is disappointing to see that the NUT are taking this approach, which would disrupt children's education, rather than working with us constructively as other unions have."

March 29, 2016