Play-based learning push back will see 4 year olds march to 10 Downing Street
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Play-based learning push back will see 4 year olds march to 10 Downing Street

Play-based learning push back will see 4 year olds march to 10 Downing Street

by Freya Lucas

April 11, 2019

A group of four year olds will march to the home of UK Prime Minister Theresa May on 25 April 2019 to hand over a petition against the proposed baseline assessment measure of early learning, Nursery World has reported.


The protest, dubbed “march of the four year olds” will present the petition, which has amassed over 65,000 signatures, calling for the UK Department for Education to reconsider their plans to assess children in the first weeks of formal schooling (called Reception, where children are typically four years of age).  


The proposed introduction of formal testing of four year olds has been met with controversy in the UK, with teachers vowing to oppose the plan, and with the UK’s largest teachers’ union urging members to boycott the pilot schemes planned for the next school year.

The proposed tests are baseline assessments which would replace national testing that currently takes place when children are seven years of age, the Department of Education said.  

Speaking about the proposal to The Guardian, Katharine Lindenberg, a teacher from Waltham Forest in London, said the baseline tests were “unnecessary, expensive, damaging and immoral”.


“This is a time when children should be building their confidence, gaining trust with their teachers and support staff. Learning through play, establishing routines. They will become data, that is what baseline testing is all about,” Ms Lindenberg said.


Ms Lindenberg’s comments mirror concerns raised in the Australian context about the push down of academic learning into the early years space.


A coalition of education experts, parents, leaders and teachers, operating under the banner More than a Score have planned the march, Nursery World said, as part of their ongoing campaign against standardised assessment in primary schools.


The original coverage, as provided by Nursery World may be accessed here, with more information about the march available here.

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