Schools could be forced to report parents who boycott SATs

School leaders may be forced to report parents who purposely keep their children at home during this summer’s SATs, leaving boycotters open to prosecution, jail time and fines of up to £2,500.

Thousands of parents have indicated through online petitions that they will keep their children away from school on May 3 in protest against the new national curriculum tests, due to be completed by year 2 and year 6 pupils next month.

Let Our Kids Be Kids – a group started by year 2 parents – launched an initial petition with signatories invited to keep their children at home during the tests. The petition has amassed more than 13,200 signatures. A further 800 people have signed a petition started by like-minded year 6 parents.

The group have also published a template letter parents can use for informing headteachers of their intention to remove their child during the tests.

Under school attendance rules set by the government, children are only allowed to miss school if they are too ill to attend or if they have advance permission from the school for their absence.

If a child misses school “without good reason”, councils and schools can make parents attend parenting classes, appoint supervisors for the child’s education or ask for proof the pupil is being educated elsewhere.

Parents can also be fined £60 by councils, or prosecuted and fined up to £2,500 or jailed if the breach is serious enough.

Both petitions propose “a day of fun learning out of school to show support for a Sats boycott”. It is unclear if the insistence that children will be learning at home will be enough to satisfy school leaders.

According to the National Association of Headteachers, school bosses would have to report the absences, but it is not yet clear whether they could be reported as authorised absences or as rule breaches.

The National Union of Teachers is considering a boycott of all primary testing next year after calling on education secretary Nicky Morgan to cancel this summer’s tests. Other teaching unions have also been critical at the pace of implementation of assessment reform, which they claim is adding to teacher workload.

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. Katherine Clarke

    This is scare mongering! I will be keeping my child off on the 3rd of May as a protest but I will be giving the reason of absence as STRESS caused by the pressure brought about from this necessary testing! And to reduce the stress we are going to the park to learn about insects!

  2. Jenny veitch

    Your report is erroneous. The campaign is to keep kids off school for a fun day of learning on 3rd May: this is NOT a SATs testing day. Schools cannot fine parent for one day’s absence. Although some schools have been advised not to grant leave by their LEA, they are still supportive of parents wishing to support THEM by this action.
    25,000 signatures on the petition to date and over 100 events scheduled to take place around the country. This does not include all those parents who will be having a fun day of leaning at home too. @letourkidsbekids3may.

  3. Ridiculous. You make it sound like our kids are breaking bail. They are our kids on an assembly line of tests that we don’t approve of. Quite frankly I think NOT doing or saying anything about this is more worrying. Enjoy your days off. I’m taking my year 2 boy off to climb a mountain!!

  4. I spoke to my child’s teacher yesterday. He says my child is showing severe anxiety … not eating, not sleeping, highly emotional, trembling hands, twitching eyes. He watches the colour drain from her face and the levels of anxiousness increase at each practice test. I am know questioning her fitness to take these SATS next week. The teacher feels her results will be low, effecting her self esteem …..Shes actually doing well educational and is within the top third of the schools students. She just doesn’t seem to cope with the stress and pressure placed on her. So can I face problems by keeping her off school next week? What would other parents do?

  5. Primary school sats are only teaching kids about anxiety stress worry low self esteem and it is not what school is suppose to teach. These children are only 7 – 11 years old let them be happy and feel safe and find confidence . Before adding emotional abuse on our babies . I will not be allowing my daughters to take part in this useless activity. They can sit in the class and read a book or some other activity within curriculam instead even if i have to attend as supervisor for them .