Alliance responds to new reception baseline guidance for schools

Responding to newly-published guidance for schools on the reception baseline assessment, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said:

“It is incredibly frustrating that the government has chosen to push ahead with the reception baseline assessment, despite such widespread criticism from early years and primary education professionals.

“We’re clear that while effective assessment is undoubtedly an important part of early education, a baseline assessment as proposed by government, which focuses predominantly on narrow, easy-to-measure skills, is not the right approach. 

“What’s more, the fact that the guidance document states that in ‘most’ – but, by implication, not all – cases children won’t be aware they are being assessed, and that ‘most’ children with SEND or speaking EAL will be able to be included in these assessments is far from reassuring.

“Rather than pushing ahead with such a fundamentally flawed initiative, government should listen to the concerns of those early years practitioners and reception teachers who know and understand how young children learn and develop, and ensure that any changes to early assessments are focused on meeting the needs of children – not just making it easier to judge and rank schools.”

Editor notes

  • The Pre-school Learning Alliance is the largest voluntary sector provider of quality affordable childcare and education in England.
  • 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.
  • For information about the Pre-school Learning Alliance, visit our website: