Alliance responds to CentreForum report on primary school pupil progress

21st January 2015

Commenting on CentreForum’s Progress matters in Primary too report, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said:

“The Alliance remains firmly opposed the proposed reception baseline assessment.

“The introduction of these tests risks encouraging a ‘tick-box’ approach to reception teaching, and is likely to lead to a disproportionate focus on narrow skills such as literacy and numeracy over and above less easily measurable — but still fundamental — skills such as physical development, and personal, social and emotional development.

“It is telling that this report, much like DfE’s work on this proposal, focuses primarily the role of baseline assessments in assessing schools’ effectiveness, with little regard for the impact of the plans on children themselves. Subjecting children to formal tests at the beginning of reception, when they are still settling into a new environment, is likely to have a significantly detrimental impact on their early learning experiences. It also — as acknowledged by the report — risks unfairly labelling those who do ‘badly’ as failures from the very start of their schooling careers, damaging their confidence in the long-term.

“The education community has been clear in its opposition to these ill-thought-out plans. The DfE needs to accept that this proposal is fundamentally flawed and go back to the drawing board.”

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Notes for editors


  1. The Pre-school Learning Alliance is the largest voluntary sector provider of quality affordable childcare and education in England.
  2. Through direct provision and its membership of 14,000 nurseries, sessional pre-schools and parent and toddler groups, the Alliance supports over 800,000 children and their families in England. The Alliance also develops and runs family learning programmes, offers information and advice, runs acclaimed training and accreditation programmes and campaigns to influence early years policy and practice.
  3. For information about the Pre-school Learning Alliance, visit our website:

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