Governors should suspend heads who boycott tests, Balls says
School governors were told last night they should consider suspending headteachers who boycott national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds next month.
In a letter to governing bodies, the Schools Secretary Ed Balls said: "If necessary, you may consider whether to instruct the headteacher to remain absent from school at times when the tests are due to take place while another person administers the tests."
He reminded governors that they as well as the headteacher had a statutory duty to ensure the tests went ahead. If the head refused to open the test papers and pass them on to pupils, governors should ask another "competent person" to do so, he suggested.
Headteachers and teachers' leaders dismissed the guidance as "a desperate last throw of the dice". Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the suggestion of suspension was "inflammatory".
On their website, governors have counselled against getting involved in the action. The tests, which should be taken by 600,000 pupils, are due to start on 10 May.
Threat of 'catastrophic cascade of collisions' must be averted, warn scientists
Oxford is the least affordable city in the UK, where houses cost 11 times local salaries
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Space debris orbiting Earth to be destroyed with giant lasers fired from Australia
Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Athlete repeatedly sick as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 2 Pakistan vs Paul Smith: Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300
- 3 North Korea elections: Kim Jong-un wins 100% of the vote
- 4 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 5 Sharknado 2: Former WWE wrestler Kurt Angle to fight second wave of flying sharks
£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 3 Primary Teacher - ...
£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Bristol: Qualified nursery nurses and exp...
£45 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Teaching assistants required fo...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: Salary - ?100- ?140 a dayStart date...