In Brief

Thousands of children 'on strike' following SATs changes

Parents take primary school pupils out of class in one-day protest against government tests

Thousands of parents have taken their children out of school for one day to protest about changes to the Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) in primary schools.

Organised on social media under the slogan "Let our kids be kids", protesters argue the tests are stifling creativity and putting children under unnecessary pressure, says The Guardian.

Parents say the children are "stressed, in tears and unable to sleep as they fear being branded failures at the tender age of six", reports the Daily Mirror.

The Department for Education says SATs are part of its effort to raise standards and "help every child fulfil their potential regardless of their circumstances".

Addressing the boycott plans, schools minister Nick Gibb said: "Children should only ever be taken out of school in exceptional circumstances and we'd urge the organisers of this campaign to drop their plans because it simply isn't fair on children to deprive them of a day of their education."

Parents and teachers have taken to Twitter to show their support for the strike. 

Writing in the Daily Mirror, National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) general secretary Russell Hobby says they share parents' "frustration that the tests have become little more than a box-ticking exercise for bureaucrats".

"What we're saying is, if head teachers and teachers and parents are all saying there's something wrong with assessment this year, then it's right for the government to listen," he added.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has faced criticism for her handling of education reforms in recent weeks.

She was heckled at the NAHT annual conference after saying: "This is not about pass or fail; this is about knowing how children are making progress at the end of their primary school years."

Shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said the government had created "chaos and confusion" with their "huge number of changes to SATs specifications".

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