Anger over letter to heads in Sats row

ANGRY union leaders have criticised Suffolk County Council for sending a “threatening and intimidating” letter to headteachers urging them to ignore a call to boycott coming tests, the EADT can reveal.

In two weeks, from May 10 to 13, all 11-year-olds are expected to sit the national Key Stage 2 Sat assessments. But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) are urging their members to boycott the “unnecessary” exams, which they have branded a “waste of time, money and resources.”

Graham White, Suffolk secretary of the NUT, hit out at the council after a letter was sent to every headteacher in the county stating any school to boycott the tests would be acting “unlawfully.”

Both unions balloted their members on the issue, with 75% of NUT members and 61% of NAHT members voting in favour of taking action.

“I am very annoyed. I think it is a deliberate attempt by the authority to scare headteachers into taking no action and I think that is wrong. I hope that heads have the strength to ignore the threats and carry out what is best for parents, pupils and all staff. Say no to Sats and yes to a broad, balanced and enjoyable curriculum,” Mr White said.

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But in his letter to headteachers, Simon White, director for children and young people at Suffolk County Council said: “Headteachers are statutorily required to comply with all aspects of the key stage 2 assessment and reporting arrangements, which includes the responsibility that they ensure that all eligible and able pupils take the tests according to the published timetable.”

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