Parents launch campaign against Sats

Thousands of parents in England are set to keep their children off school for a day, as part of the ‘Let Our Kids Be Kids’ campaign protesting the introduction of tougher new Sats.

The new Sats have been created to assess children’s grasp of the recently introduced primary school national curriculum, which is considered to be more rigorous than the previous one.

The campaign group wrote a letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan claiming that primary pupils were being compelled to learn concepts beyond their capabilities. The parents behind the campaign have voiced concerns about children becoming upset about going to school, adding the tests could risk their mental health.

The letter said: "There are tens of thousands of us, and we have reached the point when it is time for us to speak. We need you to listen. We're not convinced, based on your track record, that you'll listen to just words so, to make it very clear how strongly we feel, we are also planning a day of action with a Kids' Strike on 3 May, which will see thousands of primary school children staying off school... in protest at the Department for Education's (DfE) testing policies.

Children in Year 2 are set to sit a weeks’ worth of exams in May.

The letter warned: “These children are six or seven years old. All year, their curriculum has been centred around comprehension and arithmetic in order to pass these tests.

"Outdoor learning has decreased, childhood anxiety has increased, games have been replaced with grammar, playing with punctuation."

The campaign is being led anonymously to prevent focus becoming centralised on localities, but says it expects thousands of children to be kept off school as part of the strike. The petition on the Let Our Kids Be Kids website calling for the Sats to be scrapped has been signed by over 26,000 people.

A DfE spokesman said: "We know mastering the basics of literacy and numeracy at primary school has a huge impact on how well children do at GCSE, which is why we are determined to raise standards.

"We have updated the Key Stage 2 tests to reflect our new, more rigorous curriculum, which will help every child fulfil their potential regardless of their circumstances. Tests help teachers identify and provide the support pupils need as well as giving parents a picture of how their child is doing."

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