Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign secures publicity but many schools not hit by boycott
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
A campaign calling for a one-day boycott of primary schools in protest at Sats tests pupils are due to take this month sparked debate but appeared to have limited impact in our classrooms.
The Let Our Kids Be Kids initiative, which grew from a Facebook group, sparked yesterday's day of action in protest at children being 'over-tested, over-worked and in a school system that places more importance on test results and league tables than children's happiness and joy of learning'.
Sats are taken by children aged six or seven in Year Two, and then again in Year Six, aged 10 or 11, before a third set in Year Nine, aged 13 or 14.
However, of more than 40 schools that gave information to this newspaper, 33 said no pupils were absent because of the boycott.
Ruth Emms, who withdrew her children from Colman Infant and Junior schools in Norwich for the day, said: 'We don't feel [Sats] are a good use of time. They are very stressful. I believe the teachers are doing their very best to minimise the impact of the Sats on children, but some of them are very worried and stressed about them, particularly in Key Stage 2 aged 10 and 11.'
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She helped organise alternative creative activities at Eaton Park, which about 30 children joined.
She said: 'It's a big deal taking your children out of school. We have all thought very carefully about it. A lot of people have decided it is not right for their children to come out of school, or they can't do it for child care reasons, so the fact we have got so many people here is brilliant.'
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Another parent said pupil numbers at Colman Junior appeared to be 'noticeably down', although the school said it could not provide numbers. Colman Infant School was contacted, but did not respond.
Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary, near Beccles, said eight pupils were away; others schools affected said one or two pupils were off.
Schools minister Nick Gibb sent a series of tweets defending the tests, and said: '[National curriculum] (NC) assessments are designed to ensure that schools have taught pupils the fundamental skills they need for secondary school.'
He said they were 'not high stakes for pupils, and pupils should never be made to feel anxious about how they perform', and they focus on the basic skills required for success in later life.
He added: 'NC tests focus on reading, writing and mathematics as the basics, but schools should teach a broad curriculum beyond these.'
Louise Spall, headteacher of Somerleyton Primary, near Lowestoft, said: 'Everybody is here as normal today; as we take assessments as part of our everyday learning so children feel as little pressure as possible. Assessments are getting harder and as a result children are having to achieve more.'
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