Union will support heads who back boycott of tests

THE National Association of Head Teachers has told its members that it will 'support them to the hilt' if they decide to back teachers who boycott government-imposed tests.

Headteachers are in a difficult position over tests after the High Court ruled that heads and governing bodies have a legal obligation to carry them out, while teachers have only a contractual obligation to do so.

In a letter to members, David Hart, NAHT general secretary, says: 'Many heads and deputies are profoundly unhappy . . . and a number of secondary heads are refusing to assess and mark the tests for 14-year-olds because they are unjust, unwise and unreasonable. The NAHT understands and shares their concerns, and whilst it cannot advise its members formally to break their statutory obligations, it will support to the hilt any member who is challenged over professional decisions he/she makes.'

The NAHT recommends that if a boycott by some teachers means that test results do not properly reflect the school's performance, all assessment and marking should be cancelled.

Mr Hart said the union would also support heads who allowed parents to withdraw their children from the tests.