Current system of primary assessment “not fit for purpose”, say North East school leaders

facebookNorth East school leaders have expressed significant concerns as to whether the current system of primary assessment is fit for purpose.

Respondents to a survey conducted by SCHOOLS NorthEast last week on primary assessment cited confusion, workload and stress as some of the main outcomes of recent reforms within the Department for Education. The majority of them reported that these changes have had a negative impact on teaching and learning in their schools.

SCHOOLS NorthEast has  submitted a response to the Education Select Committee’s inquiry into primary assessment on behalf of schools in the region.

The content of the submission was shaped by the responses to the survey and conversations with serving Head Teachers in the region.

We also found that the vast majority of school leaders consider the delivery of SATs during the last academic year as poorly managed and suggested it undermined the confidence in the assessments.

While respondents recognise that assessment plays a vital role in primary education, a Head Teacher in Gateshead told SCHOOLS NorthEast that one of the disadvantages of assessing pupils at this stage is the possibility of it leaving a “label on the child that will stay with them and possibly hamper their attitudes and progress throughout their educational career”.

The topics covered in the inquiry are:

– The purpose of primary assessment and how well the current system meets this;
– The advantages and disadvantages of assessing pupils at primary school;
– How the most recent reforms have affected teaching and learning;
– Logistics and delivery of the SATs;
– Training and support needed for teachers and senior leaders to design and implement effective assessment systems;
– Next steps following the most recent reforms to primary assessment.

The Committee is yet to announce the date of the evidence session for this inquiry.

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