AROUND 50per cent of schools in East Lancashire refused to allow their pupils to sit the Government’s SATs tests yesterday, unions claim.

And the National Association for Headteachers identified Pendle as a key area opposing the Government tests for 10 and 11-year-olds.

Tony Roberts, the union’s secretary for Lancashire, said headteachers took the action despite a threat that their wages could be docked by governing bodies.

Primary schools including Walverden Primary School, Nelson, Christ Church CofE Primary School, Colne, Primet Primary School, Colne and Sacred Heart RC Primary School, Bradshaw Row, Church all confirmed they were not doing the tests.

Many others are understood to have taken part in the action but did not want to publicise their decision because the boycott was ‘extremely controversial’.

According to the union around 50 per cent of schools in Lancashire decided not to make pupils sit the tests.

The union, which teamed up with the National Union of Teachers for the action, has claimed the tests are instrumental in damaging the quality, variety and enjoyment of education for children.

Alison Mitchell, headteacher of St Peter’s CofE Primary School, Church Street, Burnley, said: “We are boycotting the SATs mainly because we have a thorough system in place which thoroughly reflects level of our pupils.

"It has been assembled by the Government’s Assessing Pupils' Progress which is more robust.

“We have had no complaints from parents. Initially some were worried but we explained to parents how we assess children and they were quite happy.

“Some parents whose siblings had taken the tests were relieved because it is a lot of stress and pressure.”

Other schools said they would be following suit by conducting their own assessments.

Martin Foulds, assistant headteacher at Sacred Heart RC Primary School, said: “We are not taking SATs. We have the materials and are not doing them as an official procedure.

"However, we are carrying out internal assessments internally.”

Mr Roberts said: “The boycott is extemely controversial and there is a lot of apprehension by schools as they have never done anything militant before.

“They also don’t know what the wider implications will be. Some of them have joined in a cluster so they will not be out on a limb.”

Parents at Walverden Primary backed the headteachers’ decision.

Debbie O’Rourke, 35, of Southfield Square, Nelson, said: “I fully support the boycott as too much testing can knock the confidence of children.

"I have spoken to many parents who get really worried when the SATs come round. There are many other ways of monitoring a child’s progress.”

Shabana Zaroff, 29, of Holly Street, Nelson said: “It puts far too much pressure on the kids. They are far too young to have so much stress.

"They should have small tests to see how they are progressing but not ones which are as formal as the SATs where they have to revise for weeks.”

But Samia Khanum, 32, of Holly Street, Nelson, said: “My eldest daughter just did hers and although it was hard and a little stressful it has allowed her to get ready for the tests that she will have to do in the future.”

Simon Jones, executive member and Blackburn with Darwen NUT secretary, said: “The boycott is going well in Lancashire and it is not too late to decide to join the boycott.”

Helen Denton, Lancashire County Council's executive director for children and young people, said: "The decision whether or not to boycott the SATs tests is a matter for individual headteachers, not the county council, with the statutory duty being one that is placed on governing bodies.

"We have encouraged all schools considering such action to think very carefully about the possible impact that this might have on those children currently in Year 6.

"Headteachers will need to ensure that good assessment information is available on individual children if they are not to be disadvantaged in their move to secondary school."

Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire County Councils did not comment on the boycott.

A spokesperson for Ofsted said: “This boycott will not impact on school inspections until the autumn when Raiseonline is released.

"By then we will have issued guidance to inspectors and schools.”

Raiseonline provides interactive analysis of school and pupil performance data.