CHANGES TO PRIMARY ASSESSMENT WELCOME, BUT WILL ONLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF THE GOVERNMENT ENSURES COMPLIANCE
Commenting on the statement made today in Parliament by Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, on primary assessment, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said
“The changes announced to the arrangements for primary assessment to be made in the short-term are a positive response to the detailed representations the NASUWT has made over a considerable period of time to Government.
“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 NASUWT has long maintained that schools should be judged in the round and not exclusively on the basis of the test or examination results of their pupils. It will be important that all Ofsted inspectors hear that message and act upon it.
“Amending the moderation guidance, as the NASUWT requested, to specify that moderation meetings should be held during school sessions and that there should be no requirement on teachers to produce portfolios of work or make additional annotations to work has the potential to reduce the significant bureaucratic burdens on teachers.
“Whilst training of moderators is also welcomed by the NASUWT, the Government will need to ensure it has measures in place to ensure that schools and local authorities comply with guidance on good practice, otherwise these changes will make no material difference to the workload burdens teachers face and which detract from the core task of teaching.
“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.
“The NASUWT is always willing to engage in meaningful consultation on making sure that the accountability system is fit for purpose.
“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.”