Lichfield parents to join national exams protest by taking children out of school for a day

Lichfield parents say they will keep their children off school next week in protest at new exams and plans to introduce academies across the country.

The national day of action will take place on Tuesday (May 3) with thousands of primary-aged youngsters expected to stay at home.

The campaigners say that children are being “tested, overworked and stressed out by school” – and warn that moves to force all schools to become academies by 2020 will not improve the situation.

A new Midlands group was inspired by the national ‘Let Kids Be Kids’ campaign whose petition against the SATs examinations has gained over 22,000 signatures.

Lichfield mum of two, Abi Lloyd-Milner, who will be joining the strike, said: “I’m passionate about my children’s education and I want them to be excited and engaged in their learning.

“I’m not anti-testing per se but I feel these new SATs are damaging. The relentless testing is creating a dull, narrow and joyless education for our young children.

“The tests are far too difficult and I worry about my children and others becoming disengaged. While they spend hours and hours preparing for these tests they are missing out on other valuable learning experiences.”

The new SATs exams mean children as young as five are now being tested on material such as punctuation, times tables and fractions – two years earlier than before.

Paula Young, a mum of two from Fradley, said that the strike date had been deliberately chosen as a non-testing day in schools.

“While I don’t like keeping my children off school, I feel I cannot stand by and watch while this Government tears apart our education system and sets our children up to fail,” she said. “That’s why I will be joining lots of other local parents on May 3.

“I’m all for improving standards but these policies completely fail to take into account the fact that our children all learn in different ways and develop at different speeds.

“Rather than wasting money converting good schools into academies the Government should be investing in good quality teachers who can make a real difference to our children’s education.

“Educational experts agree that too much testing, too soon, is counterproductive and even harmful. Many heads are too cautious to complain because they want their schools to look good for Ofsted.

“Teachers’ unions are speaking out but many teachers are concerned for their jobs. It’s up to parents now to make their voices heard.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

17 Comments

  1. Rob

    25th April, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    “I’m all for improving standards but these policies completely fail to take into account the fact that our children all learn in different ways and develop at different speeds.”
    Which is why the comprehensive system was a millstone around the neck of academically gifted pupils.

  2. Jack Andrea

    25th April, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Nobody opposes the governments assault on education and health as much as I do, however using the children to make a point is irresponsible and damaging to their education and is also against the law. What example is this setting? Don’t like government policy so break the law to oppose it?? There are other ways around this

  3. Mat

    25th April, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Jack Andrea- in what way is it damaging a child’s education? What example is it setting? The right to peaceful, non violent protest in a democratic society. As a member of a democracy, we need to make up our own minds about laws. Some laws are bad and should be opposed in a multitude of ways.

  4. Rob

    25th April, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    @Jack Andrea:
    It’s the default position of the left when the democratic process delivers the “wrong” result. I quite enjoy the hypocricy myself.

  5. Mat

    26th April, 2016 at 8:55 am

    I don’t recall blanket accademisation being in the manifestoes of any party-so much for democracy. If comprehensives are so bad, why do they deliver university entrants year on year in greater numbers than any other sector? Personally, I think telling at child at 10 that they are not good enough is somewhat damaging and premature. But please don’t stop, I love a good debate and after all, that’s democracy in action!

  6. Jack Andrea

    26th April, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Except this is not a decent protest. How can the government be expected to give a reasonable reply when parents will be breaking the law by deliberately keeping children from attending school? The arguement made by parents will be invalidated. It’s pretty obvious how children are going to be worse off – they will be missing lessons! I oppose academisation of schools and the harsh and damaging testing inflicted upon children but this is not the way to go about it.

  7. MidlandParents

    26th April, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Jack Andrea – What other ways are there around this? Do some research. Teachers, heads and professionals have all tried to take action but the government just ignore them and do their own thing! Children sitting these tests have no say. As parents, is it really it a good idea to do nothing and let this government test our little ones to the point of destruction when there is no evidence that these tests actually help them? It’s a good idea to do nothing while this government effectively privatise our schools so that parents have no say? There’s nothing wrong with teaching our kids how democracy works and how to stand up for their rights. In any case, if you read the article you will see that it’s not about stopping them from learning but about encouraging them to enjoy learning! Something all kids should be encouraged to do.

  8. Paula Young

    26th April, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Action is the last resort, when no-one is listening. Education experts have repeatedly tried to warn politicians that intense testing of children too young does more harm than good. And these tests aren’t testing ability or intelligence. They are testing the schools so that politicians can control the system.

  9. Jack Andrea

    26th April, 2016 at 10:43 am

    The only way to prevent the Tories attacking public services was to vote against them at the ballot box, something which Lichfield failed to do. I hope the thousands of parents who are withdrawing their children from school know what to do in 2020 and in our local elections.

  10. Mat

    26th April, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    @ Jack Andrea, you are missing the point. The parents are protesting because lessons are being based on passing tests- so they are not missing meaningful learning. Its like parents who are penalised for taking children on life changing trips to the Barrier Reef of Ayres Rock- which will have the greater impact, a trip like that or past papers! If you think your only role as a citizen is to post a vote once every 5 years then you have a narrow understanding of what democracy is. As far as breaking the law- as Voltaire said- he who is free must be free both in mind and spirit.

  11. Paula Young

    26th April, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Jack – please don’t make assumptions about what people vote just because they happen to live in Lichfield.

  12. Rob

    26th April, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    “Action is the last resort, when no-one is listening.”
    ie: I’m not getting my own way.

  13. Mat

    26th April, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    Talking is an action. To remove cooperation is a long held value of the peaceful protester. It demonstrates your feeling especially when you feel your views are being ridden rough shod over. It is also a British Value with examples set by the likes of the Diggers, the Levellers, Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Suffragettes. You obviously believe in conserving the status quo which others feel gets you nowhere.

  14. Rob

    26th April, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I believe in expressing my view at the ballot box and abiding by the result.
    Some sectors have great difficulty with this.

  15. Mat

    27th April, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Yeah, there was a lot of that in the 1930s and the rest is history. What do you do about injustice outside of general election years? Today’s news is a fine example? What happens when governments lie? Any answers?

  16. Thornton

    27th April, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Exams are a good way to learn how well people are being taught. If there were no exams how would there be a standard for knowing how well a child is learning? If kids are getting stressed and not enjoying school then this is the fault of the teaching, not the exam. Lichfield doesn’t have the best schools in the land so instead of scrapping exams maybe look at how to improve the day to day education.

  17. Chris

    27th April, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Exams are not a good way to discover how well children are being taught. They might be a reasonable way to discover how well you have programmed children to regurgitate facts in the short term, but that is a very different thing, and also flawed as it fails to take into account a great many other factors that can effect the results a school gets.

    However, SATS at primary school should be irrelevant to your child, if the children are concerned or worried or stressed then either the school is failing or you as a parent is attaching far too much importance to them. Doing tests should be routine and fun and the children should be unaware they are completing them for any special reason.

    Education shouldn’t just be about passing exams, getting qualifications, we should not be sending our children to schools just to process them through the machine and keep them off the streets or out of the house for a few hours each weekday. It should be about far, far more than that. Something successive governments of either flavour have completely failed to grasp.

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