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Sunday, 31 March, 2002, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Tests boycott call by teachers
Tests
Teachers say tests cause needless anxiety

Teachers have voted to campaign for a boycott of national curriculum tests.

This would make it impossible to produce the annual primary school league tables in England, which are based on tests taken by 11 year olds.

Delegates at the National Union of Teachers' conference want to abolish the tests taken by pupils at the ages of seven, 11 and 14.

But the union's moderate leadership seems lukewarm about the strategy - and any ballots for a boycott would be unlikely this year.

Another teachers' union leader, Nigel de Gruchy, said that there was as much chance of his own union supporting such a boycott as "the Sahara desert freezing over tomorrow".

The motion approved by the NUT calls for the English school system to abandon the publication of league tables - as has already happened in Northern Ireland and Wales.

They say that tests cause unnecessary stress for pupils - and that league tables unfairly punish schools working in difficult conditions.

Reluctant

But the implementation of any boycott - and the resulting blocking of league tables that would follow - does not seem imminent.

The union's leadership is focusing its efforts on the campaign to reduce teachers' workload.

And the general secretary Doug McAvoy, speaking after the vote, seemed reluctant to commit the union to such a battle against the tests.

There would have to be a ballot before any such action could be taken - and before that there would be a canvassing of members' opinions and a consultation with other unions.

Mr McAvoy speculated that it would be at least the beginning of 2003 before any ballot would be held.

See also:

25 Feb 99 | Education
13 Nov 00 | Education
14 Feb 03 | Education
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