'We are determined to scrap Sats testing for 11-year-olds,' say unions

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The Independent Online

Teachers' union warned yesterday they are determined to scrap national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds and league tables.

They expressed "disappointment" over a pledge made by Conservative schools spokesman Michael Gove in yesterday's The Independent that both would be here to stay in the event of their victory in the general election.

Mr Gove made it clear that retaining the tests and tables would be a key priority in the Conservatives' election manifesto – and said he believed teachers' unions would be "in difficulties" if the Tories were elected with a mandate from parents to keep them.

Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said yesterday: "Our mandate from our conference is absolutely clear – and it is not just our executive which supports it. It reflects the feelings of the rest of the profession in every sector – primary, special and secondary schools."

The union is planning to conduct a formal ballot on a boycott of the tests in the new year along with the National Union of Teachers.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: "Both the NUT and NAHT believe we have made the case against Sats, supported not only by governors, parents, pupils and our own members but also many respected educationalists."

Mr Gove said he believed the tests and league tables were essential in giving parents "robust data on the performance of schools".

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