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Head teachers call for return of baseline assessments

Head teachers union calls on government to drop tests for seven year olds
 
Baseline assessments should be reinstated as part of an overhaul of primary assessment, a review published by the National Association of Head Teacher (NAHT) has argued.
 
The union has recommended that tests at the end of key stage one should be dropped and that a single, observation-based baseline assessment should be introduced to reception classes instead, arguing that there is no need to test children twice so early on.
 
In its report, Redressing the Balance, NAHT has suggested that the baseline assessment should be conducted in second half of the autumn term. Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the union, said that the proposal could help “reset our focus” to learning, rather than preparation for tests.
 
Brook added: “We hope that [the report] prompts early reflection and debate on these critical issues and provokes more people to make their voices heard within the government’s forthcoming assessment consultation.”
 
The baseline assessment was introduced in 2015 but scrapped last year. Industry bodies including the Alliance and teaching unions ATL and NUT opposed the test, arguing that it would not help children’s early development, and could place undue pressure at the very start of their educational journeys.
 
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, commented: "While we welcome the report's recognition that early assessments should be observation-based and informed by early years experts, we remain concerned by the proposal that such assessments should take the form of a 'baseline' test."
 
Neil added: "Our view remains that the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile is the best approach to a broad, observation-based assessment in reception year, as we note that today's report identifies a number of benefits of the Profile over and above baseline assessments."
 
In October 2016, the government confirmed that the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, previously due to be lose its statutory status, would remain in place until at least 2017/18.