Wednesday, 27 April 2016

OCOS statement on the 3 May day of protest against SAT tests

We are aware that many parents are discussing the forthcoming protest on Tuesday 3 May against the Key Stage 1 and 2 SAT tests and seeking more information or guidance over what they should do.

Who is coordinating the protest?

The protest on 3 May has been coordinated by parents groups, most notably the campaign group Let Kids Be Kids.

What is the protest about?

The action on 3 May is in response to the government’ growing obsession with early and harder testing. OCOS supporters have written on this blog about their anger at the Year 2 SATs, and the new, harder Year 6 SAT tests. Many of these tests will take place during the week beginning 3 May.

What is actually happening on 3 May?

Let Kids Be Kids are encouraging parents to withdraw their children from school on Tuesday 3 May for a day of ‘fun learning’ as a national protest against the SATs. They are quite clear that this is not a boycott as the tests do not all take place on the same day. It is instead a practical protest action that can be taken by parents to register their dissent from the test-driven education being forced on schools and teachers by the government.

Is it just parents of Y2 or Y6 kids who are participating?

The day of action is not confined to just those with children sitting year 2 or Year 6 SATs, it is a day on which parents can use withdrawal from school to show solidarity and register their anger, not at schools or teachers but at the government.

Won’t this hurt the schools?

These protests are intended to support schools and teachers and are supported by teaching unions. The aim is to put pressure on government to stop piling more demands on our children, teachers and schools.

What is the OCOS position on the protest?

OCOS supports this day of action.

We are also aware that this is a campaign at an early stage. As a consequence, many parents are only just becoming aware of it now and many more may not know about the day of action. Working parents may not be able to take the time off work. Some may not yet feel confident to take this action and may have unanswered questions about how their school will respond and whether they will be fined for an unauthorised absence.

In this case, we would ask that those of you who support the aims of the campaign send in a letter of support for the day of action. We have set out suggested text below:


Dear [Headteacher]

I am/We are writing to express support for the national day of protest against the Key Stage 1 and 2 SAT tests. This day of action is not aimed at schools or teachers. We know how hard you work for our children every day. Instead this action is intended to send a message to the government that parents do not support their policy of early and harder testing for children in primary schools.

I am/we are unable to withdraw my child for this day of action so they will be attending today / My child will be attending school today.

However, I/we support the aims of the day of action and reserve the right to withdraw my/our child from school in support of future days of action.

I would request that a copy of this letter is forwarded to the Board of Governors of the school and reported it its next meeting.

Yours sincerely,

I want to support the action by taking my child out of school for the day. How should I notify the school?

Any parents who wish to withdraw their children on that day can find a series of template letters they can use here.