PARENTS and a headteacher stormed up to Westminster in protest against “draconian” tests on primary school pupils.

Brighton activists from campaign group More Than A Score told MPs on Tuesday the Government’s exam regime puts too much pressure on children.

From September onwards primary schools will test their pupils in five of the seven years they attend first school.

The Brighton contingent included Elm Grove Primary headteacher Louise Willard and five parents.

Alison Ali said her daughters Suzie and Leone, both ten, had felt the pressure of tests from a young age.

“At the age of five my child was trying to remember the name of a phonics sound called a digraph,” Ms Ali said.

“I’d never heard of a digraph and here she was having to worry about it.

“Because these tests are used to measure schools, the pressure on the schools is then passed on to the pupils. It’s not fair the weight and pressure of measuring schools falls on to the shoulders of my daughters.”

Ms Ali said the introduction of times table tests put more pressure on pupils.

“You only get six seconds to answer each question and you must get 100 per cent correct to pass,” she said.

“I’m a competent mathematician but that sounds impossible.”

A More Than A Score survey found 84 per cent of parents in the South East did not believe it was fair to use formal tests to measure a school.

Meanwhile 86 per cent of headteachers had negative views on Government plans to test pupils when they start school.

Parent Gemma Haley believed focus on testing put many pupils at a disadvantage, including her autistic son.

“The stakes for the tests are so high it puts pressures on the schools which then have to put pressure on the children,” she said.

“We’ve agreed with my headteacher my son won’t sit the Key Stage 2 exams because he’s been so stressed previously.”

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas supported the parents.

But a Department for Education spokeswoman said the tests should not be a source of stress for children if teachers administer them “in an appropriate way”.

“The tests enable teachers to track pupil’s progress, helping to make sure they stay on track to fulfil their potential,” she said.

“We trust teachers to administer these tests in an appropriate way and so they should not be a source of stress for children.