As a school we’ve always had a strong commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum.
So we had become increasingly concerned about the negative impact which recent curriculum changes and testing were having in our school.
But it wasn’t until we went along to the book launch of “Tired of Testing: Our Children Are More Than a Score”, and heard author Michael Rosen and others speak about the same concerns we had, that we knew we had to do something to make a stand.
So we organised an NEU meeting to discuss the Baseline Assessment, which the Government proposes to make compulsory for four-year olds in 2020. Staff strength of feeling was high. Our concerns are that:
- Baseline will hinder our ability to form vital relationships with the children we teach in the first few weeks of school.
- We already have information through observations and interactions which allow us to form important early assessments of the children we teach, across all areas of their development.
- As the Baseline test will be done on computers and will involve removing teachers and children from the classroom, this will threaten the whole settling-in period.
- Not only will the process be very unsettling for the children, but it will add to workload and be of no use to teachers.
- The £10 million cost of Baseline could be far better spent, given the ongoing funding crisis in schools.
- Many children will have difficulty accessing the test for a variety of reasons, including being summer-born or having SEND needs.
As a school group we agreed to pass a motion stating that we wanted our school to boycott the pilot in September 2019. The NEU rep at school then shared the motion with our head teacher. This led to a further meeting, with other EYFS staff also sharing their concerns.
We plan to talk to school governors and to boycott the pilot in September 2019.
We are talking to teachers in other local schools to see if they plan to boycott too. We also plan to talk to parents to make sure they are aware of these proposals.
We feel strongly, that the children we teach deserve better, and although it doesn’t always feel easy, we are determined to speak up for them.