Early Years Sector unites in the call to oppose the introduction of baseline assessment
In an unprecedented stand against what is seen as a potentially damaging policy the leaders of England’s key early years organisations have united in the call to oppose the September 2015 introduction of standardised baseline assessment. Many associations and unions are now backing the call, with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) intending to debate next steps at its forthcoming Easter Conference.
Despite considerable expert opposition, and against the recommendations of its own consultation process, the tests are being introduced as an accountability measure to ‘help school effectiveness’ by providing a score for each pupil at the start of reception which reflects their attainment against a pre-determined content domain. From 2022, this will be used as the starting point to measure progress at the end of Year 6.
Similar baseline tests were introduced by the Labour government in 1997 and abandoned in 2002 because it was an ineffective and damaging policy. They were also introduced by Wales in 2011 and withdrawn in 2012 as “time consuming, ill-thought through and denied children and teachers essential teaching time” (NUT comment 2012)
‘The Union believes passionately that a policy which is so harmful to the interests of children should not be imposed upon schools. Baseline Assessment has everything to do with holding schools to account for pupils’ progress in a limited number of topics, and nothing to do with developing motivated, creative, adaptable learners.”
Christine Blower, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers (NUT)