Government response to primary assessment consultation

18 September 2017

Last week, the government released its response to the consultation on primary assessment. ASCL has produced a detailed summary here.  

The key points are:

  • The government is going ahead with almost all of the proposals put forward in the consultation. 

  • Most of the proposals are, in our view, sensible, and should lead to significant improvements to the current system. They align closely with the recommendations we made through regular meetings with the DfE over the last two years, and in our response to the consultation. ASCL is specifically mentioned several times as having recommended particular approaches. 

  • These positive moves include: 

  1.  the introduction of a Reception baseline (so that progress can be measured from the start of primary school, rather than halfway through)

  2.  the decision to make the KS1 SATs non-statutory (a direct result of moving the baseline to Reception)

  3.  an increased capacity for teachers’ professional judgment in the assessment of writing (meaning more emphasis on the quality of a piece of writing as a whole, and less focus on often minor grammatical issues)

  • Many of the changes will take a long time to play out, as the new baseline assessment needs to be developed and then trialled. The earliest the Key Stage 1 SATs can be made non-statutory is academic year 2022/23. 

What the changes announced here don’t touch on is the negative effects on the primary curriculum and on children’s wellbeing in the way the results of statutory assessments are used. ASCL’s review of primary accountability aims to address this issue, and to make some recommendations for improvement later this term. The government has already signalled its willingness to engage with the review and to consider its suggestions.