Parental strike against school testing – hint, intimation, or flash in the pan?

Straw in the wind?  Harbinger? Hint or intimation? Dunno.

Snowball in hell? Impossible odds? Flash in the pan? Dunno.

Still, worth noting that at the time of writing 24,412 parents (or people claiming to be parents) have signed an online petition supporting a strike – yes, worth reading that again: a STRIKE – that will keep some kids out of school for a day in protest against SATs testing at an early age.

Worth noting, too, is the parental plea – or do I mean ‘demand’?

‘ We want our kids to be kids again and enjoy learning for learning’s sake not for Ofsted results or league table figures. Bring back the creativity and the fun – say goodbye to repetition and boredom!’

‘Learning for its own sake’ .  There, in the second paragraph. Unadorned and unashamed.

A Headteacher writing in support of the strike, eloquently sets out the damaging consequences of high stakes testing.   The letter ends apologising for not signing the letter, or giving the name of the school ‘because I’m afraid of repercussions’.

Not to be pursued in this short blog, but there is a wider issue here, and that is the contraction of the public space available for independent thought and action.  Areas other than education should perhaps reflect on this.

Parents refusing to send their child to school without good reason – a strike is not likely to be seen as a good reason – lay themselves open to a daily fine of £60.00 rising to £120.00 a day if not paid within 21 days.  The price of independent action?

As to the evidence that might support the value of independence, there is none. It is not susceptible to the sort of evidence that is purportedly considered persuasive.  The Good Ship Independence must proceed under its own power, aided of course by a fair wind. But then, one can also make one’s own weather.

You may wish to sign the petition.

7 responses to “Parental strike against school testing – hint, intimation, or flash in the pan?

  1. Newsthump said it best:

    “minister sacks mad woman for being mad”

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  2. The Government takes a dim view of criticism of its testing policy. They have axed their own Mental Health Champion for being outspoken on this issue: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/may/04/mental-health-champion-uk-schools-axed-after-criticising-government-natasha-devon

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  3. Isn’t it the case that, if one parent keeps their kid off school, the full might of ‘The Powers That Be’ will smite them with the £60 fine, but if 300 parents do it, they won’t?

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    • That may well be the case, we shall see. Not sure whose decision it is to impose fine/sanctions or not. If headteachers, they may well be supportive of parents in this matter.

      More widely, whilst it’s probably true that once the campaign gathered traction parents who may have been nervous to be involved individually felt a certain safety in numbers and then joined. Nevertheless, the leaders and first responders to the campaign needed a degree of courage to ‘stick their necks out’. Which has to be commendable, at least form where I stand. What is perhaps a bit odd is – if I have this right – the strike is on a non-Sats day.

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  4. Thanks for mentioning our campaign Bernard. We just wanted to add a couple of follow up points to your post:

    Fines: We have a FAQs page which might give you / your readers some further background on the fines issue as well as other aspects of our campaign here: https://letthekidsbekids.wordpress.com/faqs/ Also this tweet we out out which has a copy of an unprecedented letter from Shoreham, Southwick and Lancing schools who have decided they will mark #KidsStrike3rdMay as “exceptional circumstances” : https://twitter.com/KidsBeKids3May/status/723784097068421120

    Headteacher letter: “He ends his letter…” – we never said the Headteacher was male 🙂

    Thanks again!

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