Headteachers demanded the scrapping of tests for seven-year-olds yesterday and voted for an investigation into the legality of following the National Union of Teachers in boycotting all national curriculum tests.
Delegates at the National Association of Head Teachers' conference in York warned that the tests – particularly for seven-year-olds – were putting too much stress on children and turning many off schooling at an early age.
Jenny Simpson, the head of Lymington Church of England Infants School in Hampshire, told the conference: "A system that is prepared to examine six and seven-year-old children in order to further its own political agenda is sick.''
The decision to call for the scrapping of the tests for seven-year-olds, due to be sat by 600,000 children later this month, means teachers and headteachers unions are united against them.
They will launch a joint campaign to convince ministers, who are planning a strategy on the future of primary education later this summer, that they should move towards a system of internal assessment by teachers of their pupils' ability at age seven.
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