On 19th October 2016 Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, made a statement about primary education. She acknowledged that the new assessments at the end of KS 2 taken this summer raised the bar on what pupils should have been taught by the age of 11. She also acknowledged that the pace and scale of change has been stretching and that no more than 6% of primary schools will be below the floor standard in 2016.
The Secretary of State now wants there to be a clear pathway to a settled system to ensure we can achieve strong educational outcomes for all children. With this in mind she announced that:
There would be no changes to assessment until at least 2018 -19.
There would be a full consultation on primary assessment and accountability in the new year.
There will be improved guidance on moderation of teacher assessment which will be accompanied by mandatory training for local authority mentors.
That the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile will remain in place for the 2017 to 2018 academic year.
The key stage 1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test will remain non-statutory for schools this year but tests will be available for teachers to use if they choose.
There will be no statutory mathematics and reading resits on children’s arrival in year 7. Schools will need to focus on the steps needed to ensure a child catches up lost ground. High-quality resit papers will be made available for teachers to use if they wish, as part of their ongoing assessments.
There will be a targeted package of support to make sure that struggling pupils are supported by teachers to catch up in year 7.
The Rochford Review Final Report, also published on 19th October, will form part of the primary assessment consultation in early spring.
The Standards and Testing Agency have produced the following documents for this academic year.
Early years foundation stage profile: 2017 handbook
2017 early years foundation stage: assessment and reporting arrangements
2017 key stage 1: assessment and reporting arrangements
2017 key stage 2: assessment and reporting arrangements
2017 interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1
2017 pre-key stage 1: pupils working below the test standard
2017 interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 2
2017 pre-key stage 2: pupils working below the test standard
The Rochford Review – Final Report
After waiting for over six months the final report from the Rochford Review was published on 19th October, just as many schools were preparing for their half term break.
The Rochford Review was established in July 2015 to review statutory assessment arrangements for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests. The interim report, published in December 2015 provided an interim solution for reporting outcomes in 2016. It published the interim pre-key stage standards for those pupils working below the expected standard at the end of key stag 1 and key stage 2. The review team then continued discussions, looking at a longer term solution especially about the future of P Scales.
The final report published in October outlines 10 recommendations for those pupils who cannot access statutory assessments as they have not completed the relevant programmes of study when they reach the appropriate chronological age. These recommendations will be part of a wider consultation on Primary Assessment that the government have said will take place in Spring 2017.
The 10 recommendations are:
The removal of the statutory requirement to assess pupils using P scales.
The interim pre-key stage standards for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests are made permanent and extended to include all pupils engaged in subject-specific learning.
Schools assess pupils’ development in all 4 areas of need outlined in the SEND Code of Practice, but statutory assessment for pupils who are not engaged in subject-specific learning should be limited to the area of cognition and learning.
A statutory duty to assess pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning against the following 7 aspects of cognition and learning and report this to parents and carers: responsiveness, curiosity, discovery, anticipation, persistence, initiation and investigation
Following recommendation 4, schools should decide their own approach to making these assessments according to the curriculum they use and the needs of their pupils.
Initial teacher training (ITT) and Continuing professional development (CPD) for staff in educational settings should reflect the need for teachers to have a greater understanding of assessing pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests, including those pupils with SEND who are not engaged in subject-specific learning.
Where there is demonstrable good practice in schools, those schools should actively share their expertise and practice with others. Schools in need of support should actively seek out and create links with those that can help to support them.
Schools should work collaboratively to develop an understanding of good practice in assessing pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests, particularly across different educational settings. Schools should support this by actively engaging in quality assurance, such as through school governance and peer review.
There should be no requirement to submit assessment data on the 7 areas of cognition and learning to the DfE, but schools must be able to provide evidence to support a dialogue with parents and carers, inspectors, regional schools commissioners, local authorities, school governors and those engaged in peer review to ensure robust and effective accountability.
Further work should be done to consider the best way to support schools with assessing pupils with EAL.
Schools should continue to use the interim pre-key stage standards alongside the interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1 and 2 in 2017. The final outcomes of the consultation on primary assessment including the recommendations above will not come into force until 2018 at the earliest.