British Teachers Call for Boycott

K-12 Testing

The National Union of Teachers in Great Britain has voted by an overwhelming majority to boycott next year’s national tests for seven, 11 and 14 year olds, saying the tests and “league table” school rankings based on them distort curriculum, cause high levels of stress and anxiety among students, and are “detrimental to the education of children.”


One teacher exclaimed that the tests forced teachers to “cram facts into children” and to hearty applause at the union’s convention declared “league tables are for football clubs not schools.” Noting that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have resisted the tests and league tables, another teacher declared, “This is a battle we can win.” Union General Secretary Doug McAvoy said that other parents and unions still need further convincing to support the action and warned that the union may suffer repercussions for the action in upcoming negotiations with government leaders over other labor concerns.


Northern Ireland
The government of Northern Ireland is planning to drop a series of controversial tests for 14-year-olds. This would put Northern Ireland on a separate course from England. Wales also plans to drop the tests, and Scottland has a different assessment system. Teachers have applauded the news, and the government reported that surveyed students said their interest in education waned in the years leading up to the exams. The governinment intends to restructure education for children aged 4 - 14, including replacing formal exams with better forms of assessment.