The scheduled introduction of the Reception Baseline Assessment for September 2020 has now been postponed until September 2021 the goverment announced today.
Just two months ago, the Department for Education rejected calls for the controversial test to be postponed due to learning being so disrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, but today a spokesperson for the DfE said, “Due to the challenging circumstances faced by schools in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, statutory introduction of the Reception Baseline Assessment has been postponed to Autumn 2021.”
Schools are still able to sign up to an ‘Early Adopter Year’ so they can familiarise themselves with the Assessment Materials and Process before the Assessment become Statutory and Education Secretary said on Monday that he would not abandon plans to introduce the tests.
The Assessment is being introduced to evaluate children’s skills in English and Maths to provide a Baseline for measuring their progress between their first weeks in school and their final SATS results in Year 6.
Although the news has been welcomed by most, there is still resistance to them being introduced at all and it is claimed that as all children will sit the same test, it will be particularly difficult for children with Special Educational Needs, born in the Summer or for whom, English is not their first language.
Early Years Alliance Press Release
Commenting on the news that the introduction of reception baseline assessments is to be delayed until autumn 2021 as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said:
“We welcome the news that the introduction of the baseline assessment is being delayed until next autumn. Clearly, given the pressure that teachers and other education professionals are currently facing, now was not the time for the government to be pushing ahead with this policy.”
“Given the widespread criticism that baseline assessment has received from both early years and primary education professionals, we would urge the government to go even further and scrap these tests altogether. Baseline assessments have been shown to be an incredibly unreliable form of assessment and, given that the government has previously admitted that they are focused on assessing schools rather than children, place completely unnecessary pressure on young children.
“We hope that the government will now confirm a similar delay to planned changes to Early Years Foundation Stage, which also risk placing undue pressure on a sector already facing significant challenges.
“As with baseline, the government should then take this opportunity to reconsider the tick-box approach to early learning and assessment that is currently being proposed, and work in partnership with the sector to ensure that any changes to the EYFS have the needs of the child at their centre.”
The National Campaign, More Than A Score, are still calling for these tests to be scrapped; to find out more, click on the image below to visit their website.