Jeremy Corbyn has announced plans to scrap compulsory national tests for primary school children in England, including SATs if Labour is elected.
In a speech to the National Education Union conference in Liverpool, the Labour leader said “We need to prepare children for life, not just for exams.”
Mr Corbyn criticised the high-stakes testing culture in England’s schools, with school children among the most tested in the whole world. The announcement was greeted warmly, with the Labour leader pledging to give teachers more time to teach.
“Teachers get into the profession because they want to inspire children, not pass them along an assembly line”
“We will raise standards by freeing up teachers to teach. Labour trusts teachers. You are professionals. You know your job. You know your students.”
Jeremy Corbyn – Leader of the Labour Party
In recent years, some parents have boycotted the SATs tests and kept their children off school during the testing period. Teaching unions have also argued that the tests put children under enormous amounts of pressure, leading to some children being reduced to tears, vomiting, having nightmares or suffering panic attacks.
At the conference, the pledge was greeted with a standing ovation and loud cheers from teachers.
The school’s minister, Nick Gibb, though defended the generally unpopular tests saying “These tests have been part of school life since the 90s”.
“Abolishing these tests would be a terrible, retrograde step. It would enormously damage our education system, and undo decades of improvement in children’s reading and maths.”