Primary test could face new boycott

Education secretary Justine Greening is set to respond to a consultation on school funding in the next few months - and the NUT expects some areas to end up with even less money. They ended Sunday's proceedings debating another more aggressive motion calling for a boycott of all "summative testing" in primary schools in 2017-18.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "There are 1.8 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010 and free schools are playing a vital role in creating those good school places". All of this while existing schools are facing an unprecedented budget crisis.

"These figures make clear that the free school, UTC and studio school programmes were ill-thought policies which, in many cases, resulted in an appalling waste of significant sums of money", he said.

The union's general secretary Kevin Courtney said ministers should apologise to teachers and parents for the £138.5m "thrown away" on these abandoned projects. He added the figure was likely to be much higher, with some data unavailable.

'At a time when head teachers across England and Wales are crying out for sufficient funds to run their schools, provide pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum and retain teachers and support staff, the Government is proposing to lavish scarce education funding on a policy which all the evidence confirms will undermine the high standards of education that comprehensive schools have been able to achieve in the decades since selective education was ended in most parts of the country.

Samantha Nicholson-Hickling, a teacher from Oldham, said she knew of a pupil who said she developed alopecia from the stress of sitting tests: "She's now 22 and has no hair, and attributes that to taking Sats at age 11".

"It is now time to drop these failed programmes and focus on what works".

Aleksander Lukic, who is a member of the NUT, was the sole voice at the union's annual conference this weekend to speak in favour of the Prime Minister's demand for more selective education.

But he added that he had come across others who did not share his support for the expansion of selective schools.

They will also vote to ballot members over a protest against all primary school tests for the 2017/18 school year. Local authorities have been banned from opening new schools that are not free or academies, according to Sky News.

Four out of five teachers reported a rise in "holiday hunger" among children on free lunches whose families struggle to afford to feed them three meals a day through the holidays, a survey by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) found. The construction costs of a newly-built free school are 29% lower than those built under the previous school building programme.

"They also operate under a much more robust accountability system than council-run schools, meaning we can take swift action to deal with underperformance and as such, they are now the highest performing group of non-selective schools".

  • Leroy Wright