Kids Boycott Schools With Their Parents To Protest New Exams

    As many as 40,000 children are expected to boycott school in a national demonstration against the testing of 6-year-olds, which campaigners say is causing unnecessary stress.

    Maddie Sinclair / Via Twitter: @maddiesinclair

    Tens of thousands of children have joined picket lines to protest against increasingly intense school testing in England.

    More than 44,000 parents have signed the “Let Our Kids Be Kids” petition, calling on the Department of Education to rethink its exam-heavy curriculum, and confirming that they and their children will today boycott school.

    Parents are concerned that SATs (exams taken when children are 6 and 11) are causing many kids unnecessary stress at a young age because the government is introducing more rigorous testing at these stages.

    #KidsStrike3rdMay We're headed out for some fun outdoor learning!!

    Campaigners say the current school system "places more importance on test results and league tables than children's happiness and joy of learning".

    The Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign has coordinated action across the country, with parents and their kids gathering in parks in Bristol, Brighton, and London. "What we are against is unnecessary testing that is not age-appropriate," they said in a statement.

    Kids will take the new tests for the first time on 9 May and 13 May. Children who do not achieve the necessary marks will be expected to retake the exam later on.

    #KidsStrike3rdMay What children think about SATS.Parents and children here in Endcliffe Park till 12.30.Come down.

    Great to see #ChrisRiddell #ChildrensLaureate supporting #KidsStrike3rdMay

    Although many took part in the protests, others enjoyed educational activities outside of school...

    With batman at the library, reading books and doing tally charts #KidsStrike3rdMay #TellNickyNo #saveourschools

    Education secretary Nicky Morgan said taking children out of school for "even a day" was harmful to their education and urged parents to reconsider doing so.

    Nick Gibb, schools minister, said the action from parents was not "fair" to children. "These tests are vital in helping schools to ensure that young children are learning to read, write, and add up well," he said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

    Changes to the curriculum have been condemned by Labour. Shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said the government had updated, altered, or published a change to primary school testing every other working day since September.

    "This government is creating chaos and confusion in primary assessment in schools, with a huge number of changes to SATs specifications since children started school last September,” she toldThe Guardian.

    The National Union of Teachers has also criticised the overtesting of children in an open letter to Morgan, calling on an end to an "exam factory approach" in schools.

    Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Rose Troup Buchanan at Rose.Buchanan@BuzzFeed.com.

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