Education bosses urge Doncaster parents not to ‘strike’

Education
Education

Doncaster education bosses are today urging parents to send their children to school today - despite a planned ‘pupils’ strike’.

A day of action will take place to protest against changes to SAT exam marking and the Government’s plan to force all school to become academies.

Parents and their children will meet at parks across the borough to vent their frustration and anger at the changes, with events planned at Sandal Beat and in Auckley.

The events are part of a national day of action set up by the Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign group.

Damian Allen, Doncaster Council’s director of learning and opportunities: children and young people, said: “This is an important period of preparation for tests and assessments which are required by Government, so I would urge parents to make sure that children do attend school. Normal procedures for unauthorised absences will apply on 3 May 2016.”

One South Yorkshire mum, Rose Butler, said: “It’s a children and parents strike in support of teachers and the NUT. There’s a lot of petitioning and Facebook groups and it’s really gaining momentum.”

The Government is introducing a new marking system for Year 2 and 6 children taking their SATs. It gives a single national standard result, and the standard considered a pass has been raised. The new system also only allows for a pass or fail.

Children are now starting to study for their Key Stage 2 SATs in Year 3, so pupils as young as seven are being taught complex grammar rules such as expanded noun phases.

“They have made the grading higher and harder,” said Mrs Butler. “But there’s also a much stronger concentration on grammar and literacy, rather than the content of children’s work.”

She added: “Many parents are against SATs anyway, because they feel they are not at an appropriate level for children of that age.”

Compounding these concerns is the Government’s recent announcement of plans to force all schools to become academies, taking them out of local authority control.

“There is a general feeling against the move toward academies,” said Mrs Butler.

“Children are feeling really under pressure at junior school and teachers are feeling very under pressure to put into place the new standards.”