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.”