Primary Assessment – URGENT – deadline 5pm Thursday 22nd June
Respond to Government Consultation
With an unexpected snap election over last 7 weeks and a school funding crisis, the issue of baseline and SATs has been overshadowed. However now is the time to act.
There is a live consultation and you can let government know your thoughts. There is guidance on NUT, More than a Score, and Better with Baseline websites.
Here there are thorough guides to responding. Below is a quick guide for a five minute response. All emails received by DFE count as consultation responses. You can respond to one question if you wish. Below we have selected 2 key questions. We do not suggest responses, as copied and pasted ones will not count but hopefully we make it easy to give your views, however you can copy and paste the questions below. If you want to see some suggested guidance on responding go to above websites and for baseline to http://www.betterwithoutbaseline.org.uk/what-you-can-do.html
There is NO specific question that asks about Key Stage 2 SATS and the terrible damage they do. But we suggest that you CAN give your opinions on this as part of your response.
If you only have five minutes….
Subject: Response to Primary Assessment in England Consultation 30th March – 22nd June 2017
10. Any form of progress measure requires a starting point. Do you agree that it is best to move to a baseline assessment in reception to cover the time a child is in primary school (reception to key stage 2)? If you agree, then please tell us what you think the key characteristics of a baseline assessment in reception should be. If you do not agree, then please explain why.
My response to this is….
Do you think that any of our proposals could have a disproportionate impact, positive or negative, on specific students, in particular those with ‘relevant protected characteristics’ (including disability, gender, race and religion or belief)? Please provide evidence to support your response.
My response to this is…….
Please sign the petition to scrap the baseline assessment
The proposals for baseline assessment programmes to be administered to 4 year olds in the first few weeks of Reception would subject children who are not yet of statutory school age – some barely past their 4th birthday – to assessments in the name of accountability, so that schools can demonstrate the “value” they add between Reception and Year 6. However, the proposed assessments are not a reliable or valid source of data for this purpose, and so will not improve the quality of schools, and will not benefit children – in fact, for many the process could be harmful.
Early years experts agree that:
- the specification for the assessments is flawed and will not produce valid or reliable data, so cannot provide the intended measure of school effectiveness
- time spent on the assessments will hinder children’s settling in at the start of their primary education. For a typical class of 30, a week of a teacher’s time could be spent administering assessments instead of supporting children.
- children who perform less well on assessments will be stigmatised and labelled as failing at the start of school, because the tests will not be age-adjusted or reflect that children’s development is not linear, and will therefore discriminate against, among others, summer born children, boys, children with special educational needs. This will damage the relationship between the school and parents at a crucial early stage, with further harmful effect on the child’s education.
A detailed summary of the problems with the proposals can be found at TACTYC: the Association for Professional Development of Early Years Educators. Concern about the proposals is expressed by organisations ranging from the joint primary group of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics and The Mathematical Association to the Too Much Too Soon Campaign.
Instead, the government should retain as statutory the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile
This week primary children aged 10 and 11 take their SATs and a report published on the same day showed a range of symptoms of anxiety raised significantly for those pupils. These included
- not eating breakfast
- skipping other meals
- sleep disturbance
- behaviour difficulties
It is quite shocking that children as young as ten admit to smoking as a result of pressure from SATs. These tests are of no importance to the child. No pupils has ever been asked for their SATs levels later in life and most secondary schools ignore them and re-test as they are so falsely inflated. When they were first introduced, people said that schools would ignore the pressure and teach as they always had and the SATs were merely one week of formality. The reality is that children are closely monitored from Year 1 for their levels, labelled, put into ability groups, given booster lessons, sat for large chunks of their primary education at a table with children of the same ‘ability’ knowing that triangle group is the bottom group and the will never reach the dizzy heights of circle group. Now this threatens to come down into the Early Years, where baseline tests will be reported to the government and data used to judge the performance of a school and a teacher. These tests are of no use to the teacher or parent in assessing children and moving them on.
This is why the following professional associations have opposed it:
The NUT, The Pre-school Learning Alliance, Association for Professional Development in Early Years (TACTYC), Save Childhood Movement (SCM), Early Childhood Forum, National Association for Primary Education (NAPE), Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), Early Childhood Action, National Day Nurseries Association , British Association for Early Childhood Education (Early Education) The ATL, The Charter for Primary Education plus many academics, psychologists and others.
We have been campaigning across the country. Parents are horrified that the testing bug will infect the good practice in Early Years. We advise people to hold public events and widen the support for this campaign.