British Teachers to Boycott Tests

K-12 Testing

Participants in the spring 2003 British National Union of Teachers (NUT)conference voted unanimously to boycott the country’s primary standardized testing program. The delegates rose to their feet, chanting, “No more Sats,” as the tests are known.


The exams are administered across England at age seven, England and Wales at age 11, and the entire United Kingdom at age 14.


“The tests are about collecting useless data, which the government collects and uses to batter teachers,” explained John Wheatley, who added, the tests are “dangerous for our kids.”


Another teacher, Marilyn Evans, said, “Sats set children up to fail.” John Illingworth, NUT’s former president, said, “Our most obvious allies are parents. They understand the damage these tests do.”


The union, the nation’s largest, will conduct a ballot of its members on the planned fall boycott. It also will seek support from other unions. From 1992-94, a teacher boycott led to simplifying the tests to reduce the time they took to administer (see Examiner, Spring 1996).