19 Mar, 2015

Experts oppose assessments for four-year-olds

BBC News | Education and Family | Hannah Richardson | 19 March 2015

Early years education experts and teachers are calling for plans for new baseline tests for four-year-olds in England’s schools to be scrapped.

In an open letter, they warn they will be unreliable, harmful to children’s wellbeing and learning, and disruptive in the crucial early days of Reception.

The Department for Education says the tests, to be introduced in September, are the best way to monitor progress.

But a government consultation found 57% of 1,063 respondents opposed them.

Although the tests are described as optional, many see it as inevitable schools will sign up to one of the six commercial provider programmes they will be invited to choose from.

There is likely to be pressure for head teachers to adopt an approved test so they have a record of Reception children’s levels of attainment on entry to the school for when they take national tests at 11.

Announcing the tests last year, the then Education Secretary Michael Gove said children should be assessed when they entered primary school and again when they left at 11.