The new 11+?

NASUWT COMMENTS ON THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER’S ANNOUNCEMENT

Commenting on the announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister on proposals to reform the way in which primary schools are held to account, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Every child is entitled to a great education.

“Teachers and schools are ambitious for their pupils and seek to do the very best for all of them.

“Additional per pupil funding through the pupil premium will of course be welcomed.

“Schools will, however, need to be assured that this is in fact additional money at a time when schools have been subject to year-on-year real term cuts.

“Schools will also be concerned that as a result of the Government’s changes to the welfare benefits system, fewer families will qualify for free school meals and may miss out on access to additional support.

“Since the pupil premium’s inception the NASUWT has been calling for measures to ensure that the pupil premium was targeted on those pupils for whom it was intended, and not just absorbed into school budgets. We note that the Government has now recognised the need for stronger accountability in this regard.

“The Government needs to be cautious about potential unintended consequences arising from a number of the proposals it has announced.

“School level assessments are fine in principle but in the context of current high stakes accountability, with no framework for support or provision of resources, the outcome is likely be a bureaucratic nightmare for teachers which could undermine high standards.

“The tests at 11, which will determine if pupils are ‘secondary school ready’, could risk establishing a modern-day version of the discredited and deeply damaging 11-plus system.

“Producing performance tables which rank individual pupils against their peers nationally could also result in children being labelled as failures at an early age. The Government should consider carefully whether this sensitive information should be made available to other schools given the risk of a return to an 11-plus system of selection.

“The Deputy Prime Minister may inadvertently be heralding the expansion of selective education so favoured by the Conservative Party.”

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