Rescue Our Schools

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We made sure Rescue Our Schools was at one of the very first roadshows organised by the Labour Party to discuss its proposed National Education Service. The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, gave an opening address.

She made it clear she was open to all fresh ideas on how to guarantee free, life long opportunities to all. One of the key issues to emerge from the discussions – attended by both young and old – was the pernicious effect of high stakes testing in both primary and secondary. Another key concern from the students in the room was the unfairness of student loans and the divisive effects of new university accountability measures which urge students to judge their lecturers.
It was felt that the draft principles of the NES needed to be broadened to embrace the importance of not just knowledge but skills. There were also calls for education to be valued as a vehicle for equality and inclusion.
We would urge anyone who has the roadshow coming their way to get involved.

Did you know York is set to become the worst funded authority in the UK?

An event taking place this Saturday 12th May, aims to look at the effects of this new funding formula on the children of York and also more widely at the impact of the education system on our children.

Sign up here and have your say! Both Jonny Crawshaw and Madeleine Holt from Rescue Our Schools will be there and available to answer any questions you might have about what is going on in education right now.

 

 

We’re hearing from more and more parents who want to take their children out of SATs – but they have been told by headteachers they can’t. This is simply not true. The most extreme case – featured in the Independent – is the school where parents were told their children had to sit Sats even if they had a minor illness.

Heads and parents need to know their rights. Headteachers have a statutory duty to make sure their pupils take Sats ‘where eligible’. Those last two words are crucial. They also have a duty of care to their students. They ignore this at their peril. An investigation over safeguarding could be far more serious than a dip in results.

As for parents, it is possible to withdraw your child from Sats in Year 6 by taking them out for just four half days when the tests are underway. We know of no case of anyone being fined for sats withdrawal, and you are likely to have to take them out for five whole days to trigger a fine of £60. You can check out the situation in your area by researching your local authority’s code of conduct for unauthorised absence (which should be on your council’s website).

With Year 2 Sats and the phonics check in Year 1, it is much harder to take your children out without the consent of the headteacher. This is because Key Stage 1 Sats can be sat at any time during May – so you would have to take your child out for awhile month to be sure they didn’t sit them. With phonics, a child can be given the test at any time over a fortnight in June.

Let’s keep up the campaign to end these pointless and damaging tests for good. For more legal advice and other ways in which you can protest please check out more than a score’s action toolkit at Morethanascore.co.uk.

RoS attends Summer of Love Arts

SteamCo Summer of Love Art

SteamCo, the social enterprise devoted to bringing science and the arts to schools, launched its Summer of Love Arts at Westminster yesterday – and Rescue Our Schools was there. As befits SteamCo events, the whole thing kicked off with some wacky improvisation from Amy Cooke-Hodgson (see our video on Facebook and Twitter). Then came all sort of speakers, among them Madeleine Holt, Rescue Our Schools’ co-founder, who explained the work of the More than a Score alliance for alternatives to SATs.

Sharon Hodgson, the MP for Sunderland West, hosted the event. She was joined by Shadow Early Years Minister Tracy Brabin, Thelma Walker MP (herself an ex primary head) and fellow education select committee member Gillian Keegan MP, who represents Chichester for the Conservatives.

There was a strong sense of MPs from all parties coming together to fight for more creativity within the curriculum. The highlight was a speech from Andria Zafirakou, the head of art at Alperton Community School, and recent winner of the one million dollar Global Teacher Prize.

SteamCo begin their tour in Brighton on May 7th, before traveling to Leeds, London, Stoke and much more. The tour ends at Camp Bestival in July.

Urgent call out to parents re SATs

Tmore than a scorehe More Than A Score campaign is on the lookout for parents who are willing to share their stories and experiences about SATs.

We’d urgently like to hear from parents – particularly if you live in Hull, the South West, Liverpool or Birmingham – by 6pm today (Friday 27th April). This is for a media piece which is happening next week.

Can you help? If so, please fill out this form​ and we’ll be in touch: https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSdgUnfZ6LXOADaHgP…/viewform

Speaking up for speaking

Emma Hardy MPRoS went to an excellent event organised by the English-Speaking union. We heard from children of all ages about how learning to articulate their feelings and listen respectfully had given them a sense of self-worth and being able to deal with situations as they go out into the world. There are plans to set up a group to promote oracy in schools.

Are you thinking of taking your children out of SATs?

We are working with our partner More Than a Score to support you along the way with resources, ideas and opportunities to meet others in the same boat.

Let us know what you think by filling in this short form.

Parents needed to speak out against SATs

ROS is getting more and more media requests for parents willing to speak out against SATS. If you have something to say, please get in touch with us via email.

We support the only school in the UK saying no to SATS

Watch this brilliant film from one of our partners, More than a Score, about how headteacher, governors and parents of Little London School in Leeds decided not to put their year 6 children through SATS.