Banburyshire parents and teachers have been flocking to sign a petition against testing tots.
The petition, by the group More Than A Score urges government to abandon plans to make England the first country in the world to put all four-year-olds through exams. The group says the tests are pointless and damaging.
Banbury mum Patricia Brekke of Queen’s Road has a four-year-old who started school last autumn.
“Starting school can be very daunting for young children, and adding pressure to the mix is not likely to help,” she said. “Countries that consistently show high standards of education like Finland and Singapore, where primary school entry is later, do not test their children until they are older and invest heavily in fostering a love of learning.
“I believe a more worthwhile investment would be to provide more funding for schools to be better resourced rather than spending it on more assessments. I don’t believe assessing children entering the educational system will be beneficial.”
Lucy Coleman, a reception teacher and young members’ officer for the National Education Union (NEU), said: “As a reception teacher, I’m disappointed the Department for Education is continuing to push its agenda for baseline assessment. Evidence shows it is very difficult to test four-year-olds, so the results will be arbitrary.
“Like many other early years’ professionals I’m also concerned the time it will take to complete these tests.
“This is the time the children are settling in to the classroom and teachers should be spending it getting to know the children and building positive relationships,” she said.
The NEU is encouraging members in primary schools to adopt a motion which rejects the baseline assessment pilot in September.
More information can be found at www.morethanascore.org.uk/
Mums on the Banbury Guardian Facebook page unanimously said children of that age should be left to be children without the stress of testing.
The NEU said: “Primary school children in England are being let down by a system that cares more about measurement than their education.”
“Our system is obsessed with league tables, turning children into data points and denying them a broad, stimulating education at key stages in their development. It puts an unnecessary burden on children, parents and teachers alike.”