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Schools invited to join baseline pilot scheme

By Rachel Lawler
baseline tests child painting
Schools are being invited to sign up to a pilot scheme that will trial the new baseline assessment, starting in September this year.
The baseline test will see children in reception classes tested on their language, communication and literacy skills as well as early maths, in the first six weeks of their first time at school.
The pilot scheme will start in September 2019, although the test is not expected to be rolled out nationwide until next year.
Baseline tests
Baseline assessments were previously trialled in 2015 but were scrapped in 2016 after the results were found to be insufficiently comparable.
The National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) was selected to deliver the tests last year and has already started running trials in September 2018.
Parent concerns
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: ““It’s incredibly disappointing, though unfortunately not surprising, that the government has chosen to push ahead with the roll-out of baseline testing despite widespread concerns from educators, parents and the wider early years and primary sectors.
“Rather than looking to assess children across a broad range of areas of learning and development, these reductive, inconsistent and often-unreliable tests instead take a narrow focus on easy-to-measure skills such as numeracy and literacy.
"As government has itself admitted, this policy is all about assessing the effectiveness of schools, rather than supporting children’s early learning and development. As a result, we have a system about to be introduced which is liable to place undue pressure on young children at the very start of their educational journeys, without any real benefit to them at all.
"We urge the government to rethink the introduction of these tests, and will continue to oppose this policy in partnership with our sector and union colleagues."
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