Teachers raise prospect of primary test boycott

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Teachers have raised the prospect of a boycott of primary school tests.

Delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers annual conference in Liverpool passed a resolution raising concerns at the "increasing pressure that comes from national tests" on pupils and teachers.

They called on the ATL's leadership to explore a possible boycott of primary level testing and to hold discussions with other unions about the action.

Today's resolution comes just weeks after the Government announced plans to scrap national curriculum tests - known as SATs - for seven-year-olds.

But the conference heard that there are still concerns about other testing for youngsters, including a proposed new "baseline" assessment for four and five-year-olds, and existing SATs tests for 11-year-olds (at the end of what is known as Key Stage 2).

Proposing the resolution, which was passed with 96% in favour, Jean Roberts, from Brent, north-west London, said: "Where is the mention of KS2 SATs? Those will stay in place, with the curriculum narrowed for so many pupils, as schools work to reach an ever-rising bar. Which means they are not deemed to what is called 'below the floor' and labelled as failing."

SATs tests are held in May and it is understood that no national action by the union will take place this year.

The union is due to merge with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) later this year, and its conference, due to be held in Cardiff this weekend, is likely to be closely watched to see if it takes a similar stance on primary testing.