Commenting on the passing of motion 6 at the National Education Union’s Annual Conference, which is being held virtually, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

"The pandemic has taught us bitter lessons about the consequences of inequality for health, life chances and wellbeing. 

"Today, the Union has set out the measures government should take to learn from the failures of the past and to open up our narrow, test-driven and restrictive education system so that it benefits all learners, from the early years to adulthood.

"The government’s dogmatic belief in testing all primary pupils in order to monitor school performance is destroying children’s enjoyment in learning and lowering the quality of education. The union will be campaigning to ensure that the government drops its plans to test all four-year-olds when they enter reception class and gives up the idea of restoring SATs in 2022.

"Moving with the grain of educational opinion, the union is calling for fundamental reform of 16+ and 18+ examinations. On the government’s watch, we are stuck more deeply than ever in a divided and debt-ridden system of further and higher education which offers opportunities to some, while leaving others with no clear pathway to study and qualifications. In a society aiming at economic progress and general wellbeing, these arrangements are archaic and intolerable."