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The Education Minister, Justine Greening, has announced a number of changes to the primary assessment system, including the withdrawal of mandatory resits in Year 7 for pupils who fail to achieve an equivalent level 4 their key stage 2 assessments.
In a written statement to Parliament, the Minister addressed the reforms to primary assessment that have taken place in recent years, commenting that: “The pace and scale of these changes has been stretching…Our objective is to make sure that children are ready for the next stage of their education.
“We know, and Ofsted inspectors understand, that the 2016 assessments and results mark a break with the past and are not comparable with the preceding years.”
The Minister went on to state that:
• No more than 6% of primary schools will be classed as being below the floor standard in 2016
• The government will set out new regulations regarding ‘coasting schools’, as part of wider efforts to better monitor pupil progress; with a small number of schools expected to fall within the definition of ‘coasting’ by the end of the year
• In the interests of ‘stability’, no new national tests or assessments will be introduced before 2018/19
• This year’s Key stage 1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test will continue to be non-statutory, though teachers will be available to acquire and use said tests should they wish
• There will be no statutory maths and reading SATs resits for children failing to achieve the level 4 equivalent upon their in year 7; instead, there will be a focus on ‘The steps needed to ensure a child catches up lost ground’, with resit papers made available to schools that wish to use them
• A consultation on primary assessment and accompanying accountability implications will be launched ‘Early in the New Year’; among other issues, it will examine the best starting point for measuring children’s progress in primary school and the role that teacher assessment ought to play.
• In the meantime, the EYFS Profile will remain in place for this academic year
Chris Keates – General Secretary, NASUWT
“It appears that the Secretary of State has now recognised the real challenges around statutory end of key-stage assessment. The recognition that there were problems with the 2015/16 data, and that because of this no schools should face harsh sanctions solely on the basis of that data, is a welcome step towards relieving the pressure and anxiety some schools have been experiencing.
“The decision to shelve the Government’s manifesto commitment to year 7 resit tests and not to introduce any new primary tests until 2018/19, pending the outcome of consultation, which has been launched today, should give schools a few less things to worry about for the time being….However, the Government must now use the space it has created with today’s announcement on assessment to ensure that the outcome delivers real progress in reducing, not increasing, the already intense workload burdens on teachers and school leaders, whilst also ensuring that schools are judged on the right things in the right way.”
Malcolm Trobe – Interim general secretary, Association of School and College Leaders
“We share the Secretary of State’s view that it is very important to assist those pupils who are struggling when they move into secondary schools and fully support her priority to promote and fund effective interventions. We told her that mathematics and reading re-sits were not necessary, and are pleased that she has listened, understood the issues and now stated that there will be no mandatory Year 7 re-sits.
“The promised period of stability is very sensible, with no new national tests or assessments introduced prior to the 2018/19 academic year. Her statement of having a supportive approach to those schools below the floor standards to move in a positive direction indicates her understanding of the needs of these schools.
Nansi Ellis – Assistant general secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers
“We welcome today’s announcement which signals a new approach by the Government to working more closely with teachers, heads and education professionals. Primary school headteachers will be hugely relieved that the results of the 2016 key stage 2 SATs will not be used by Regional Schools Commissioners as the basis for taking over the running of any school, which is something ATL lobbied for.
“Children, parents, and teachers will be relieved that the toxic proposal to force children to resit their SATs tests in their first year of secondary school has been shelved. We welcome Justine Greening’s commitment to working with the profession to develop an assessment system that works for children and teachers as well as for holding schools accountable for providing a good education for all children. We look forward to taking part in the consultation and hope the Secretary of State will continue to listen to teachers and heads.”
Russell Hobby – general secretary, National Association of Head Teachers
“NAHT is pleased that the new Secretary of State has listened to the concerns of school leaders and teachers over assessment in primary schools and the Year 7 resits in secondary schools. We welcome the commitment to work with us all on a full review of assessment and accountability in the coming months.
“In the short term, there are proposals to correct some of the difficulties we faced last year. We will now present these changes to our members to seek their views. We will want to look closely at the proposals on accountability in particular. Our own independent assessment review group will present its findings in the new year, which should provide a solid basis for the government’s review.”
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