Jeremy Corbyn used a speech to the National Education Union (NEU) conference in Liverpool to announce that a future Labour government would abolish all primary school SATs. He also said that the party would scrap the planned reception baseline assessments, which are due to be introduced in 2020.
In his speech Mr Corbyn said ‘SATs and the regime of extreme pressure testing are giving young children nightmares and leaving them in floods of tears. I meet teachers of all ages and backgrounds who are totally overworked and overstressed. These are dedicated public servants. It’s just wrong.’ He said Labour would consult with parents and teachers to come up with an alternative form of assessment.
Responding to Mr Corbyn’s announcement, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said ‘The NEU has long advocated an assessment system that has the trust of teachers and school communities – one that will support children’s learning and raise standards of attainment in our schools. We look forward to the return of a broad and balanced primary curriculum and to the rekindling of the spirit of creativity in our schools. We welcome Labour’s commitment to work with the profession in order to develop these ground-breaking policies further’.
However, schools minister Nick Gibb was critical of the Labour proposals saying ‘These tests have been part of school life since the 1990s. They have been pivotal in raising standards in our primary schools. That’s why Labour governments led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown supported them. Abolishing these tests would be a terrible, retrograde step. It would enormously damage our education system, and undo decades of improvement in children’s reading and maths.’
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