Parents and children from all over West and East Sussex have joined a day of protest against primary school tests for 6-and-7-year-olds.
Parks in Crawley, Haywards Heath, Hassocks, Hastings, Worthing, Shoreham-by-Sea, Chichester, Eastbourne, Lewes and Brighton were among those who played host to a variety of educational outdoor events today (Tuesday May 3).
The protests were held to support the national Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign, which has called for an end to SATs for Year 2 children, which organisers say places them under too much stress.
Elizabeth Nicholson organised ‘playtime in the woods’ for protesters in Pevensey, which included a picnic and bear hunt.
Mrs Nicholson, who has sons in Year 2 and Year 6 said of the tests for younger children: “I feel there is too much pressure to teach to a test, Our children are not robots – they grow and learn at varying degrees.
“The SATs serve no purpose for the child and it is unreasonable to expect a young child to complete test papers in test conditions.”
She added: “Do we truly need any more than in-class teacher assessment? Why add the additional stress of multiple exams?
“If assessment is made it should be meaningful and carried out in such a way that the child is unaware.”
Amy Hemmings, organised a protest in Alexandra Park, Hastings.
She said: “Our concerns about the SATS are that they hugely affect the whole approach towards teaching throughout year 2, and even before that.
“Teachers are forced to focus heavily on a narrow range of subjects particularly maths, grammar and spelling, to the detriment of other equally important subjects – science, arts, sport, and of course free play.
“The learning environment has become completely target-driven and gives very little freedom to teachers to create an inspirational, fun and nurturing educational experience.
“We worry that children of 6 and 7 can find these tests very stressful, which could lead to longer-term mental health issues, and potentially could turn them off learning and education altogether.
“We think teachers should be trusted to judge the progress of children in their class, facilitated by effective teacher training, and given the autonomy to respond to the needs, abilities and differences of all the individuals in their class in a way that they see as appropriate.”
Mrs Nicholson added: “Whilst I do not directly disagree with testing towards the close of primary education, I feel the emphasis laid upon SATs is entirely disproportionate.
“They serve no purpose other than as fodder to the league table log pile.”
Were you at one of the protests? Contact the newsdesk and tell us why you chose to take part.
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