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Hackney parents to pull children out of school in strike over tests

PUBLISHED: 11:19 02 May 2016 | UPDATED: 11:19 02 May 2016

The government has abandoned plans to force all schools to become academies by 2022. Picture: PA/Barry Batchelor

The government has abandoned plans to force all schools to become academies by 2022. Picture: PA/Barry Batchelor

PA/Press Association Images

Parents across Hackney will keep their children out of school tomorrow as part of a national strike against tougher Sats tests for younger pupils.

Campaign group Hackney Parents Supporting Education has been launched to support the action, which also opposes the government’s “forced academisation and narrowing curriculum”.

Parents are angry the views of headteachers, teachers, researchers and mental health professionals on testing are being ignored.

They will instead take their children on educational outings, facing possible £120 fines for unauthorised absence.

Thirty Key Stage 1 children from a Stoke Newington school will visit Woodberry Wetlands – which was opened at the weekend by David Attenborough – for a woodland nature trail and a spot of pond-dipping.

Nicola Kent will be taking her six-year-old son along.

She said: “My son loves school, and we love and respect his teachers for the hard work they do under ever-increasing pressures from government.

“We are furious these experienced professionals are not being trusted to assess our children’s development using their expertise but are instead forced to use crude and unnecessarily stressful exams.

“I am particularly concerned about the increase in mental health problems for children which has been linked to heightened pressure in their schooling.”

Another mum, Anna Edmundson, said: “All Sats test is the ability of our six and seven year olds to sit tests in exam conditions. They squeeze the joy out of our children’s learning and fail to equip them for life in a modern, ever-changing world. To thrive in the future our children will need curiosity, open-mindedness and creativity - not a detailed knowledge of suffixes and noun phrases.”

Following tomorrow’s strike, which has been organised nationally by campaigners Let Our Kids Be Kids, the Hackney group says it will find other ways to support local schools, teachers and children.

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