THOUSANDS of children across England went on “school strike” yesterday in protest against a series of “tough” tests imposed on six and seven-year-olds by the Tories.
The school boycott came after over 40,000 people signed a petition to end the Year 2 Sats, “overtesting” and “overworking” young children.
Behind the day’s events stood the Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign, founded by parents but supported by teachers and children’s authors Chris Riddell and Michael Rosen.
Nicola Leahy, whose six-year-old Jayden goes to a school in north London’s Muswell Hill, told the Star she believed the exams were “too tough and challenging for our children.”
She said: “My son is one of the youngest in his class and he has really struggled over the past couple of weeks with going to school.
“It’s time for a change and the government needs to listen to what us parents are saying.
“Our children need to be recognised as individuals again and not just numbers on a database.” The controversial testing is taken by children in Year 2, but retaken in Year 6 by kids aged 10 or 11, and again in Year 9 by 13 and 14-year-olds.
Campaigners warned Education Secretary Nicky Morgan the constant testing was creating a “hothousing” culture in primary school classrooms leaving children stressed out.
Ms Morgan defended comments she made shortly after being made a Cabinet minister, arguing that arts subjects in schools could “hold [children] back for the rest of their lives.”
While not officially backing the boycott, several members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) shared images and comments on the kids’ strike on social media. NUT executive member Gawain Little said: “I applaud the parents who organised and took part in the strike for standing up for their children’s right to a broad and balanced education.
“This is a clear sign that fractures are appearing in the neoliberal consensus that has governed education for three decades and that corporate education reformers can no longer claim to speak for parents.”