What next for Year 6 – the Tories plans for SATs

Interesting extract from the LGIU, for parents of children nearing the end of primary school and what the new assessment will look like and the outlook for the secondary curriculum….

The Conservative Party manifesto, not surprisingly, confirmed the new Key Stage 2 assessment arrangements based on the new National Curriculum introduced in September 2014. See CSN Briefing Key stage 1 and 2 assessment for 2015/16 – DfE consultation (November 2014). The Government announced its response to the consultation in Performance descriptors for key stage 1 and 2 statutory teacher assessment on 26 February 2015; schools will know by September 2015 how their year 6 (11-year old) pupils will be assessed in May 2016. To support these changes the Government announced a Commission on Assessment Without Levels on 9 March 2015 which is required to produce a written report by the end of the Summer term 2015 on how schools can implement the new assessment arrangements. The explicit requirement to make pupils who have not reached the ‘standard’ resist the ‘exams’ in secondary school is new. It has shades of the commitment given by the last Labour Government in 2009 in its White Paper 21stCentury Schools (June 2009) to ‘guarantee’ 10 hours of one to one or small group tuition to all pupils in year 7 who had not achieved level 4 in primary education before taking a SAT-like ‘progress check’. However, as Chris Husbands, Director of the UCL Institute of Education has pointed out in his blog ‘the international evidence on repeating tests in successive years as a lever for improved attainment is generally negative’.
The requirement that all secondary school pupils must take the “English Baccalaureate” is new. The problematic subject will continue to be a foreign language with only half of year 11 pupils taking a GCSE in one or more foreign languages and only 35% of year 11 pupils achieving a grade A* to C. Presumably the Government will reinstate the requirement to study a (modern) foreign language which was repealed in 2004 (which can be done without primary legislation). In the longer-term, the introduction of compulsory language teaching for 7-year olds in 2012 may support secondary school foreign language teaching. The number of schools which ‘refuse to teach these subjects’ is not known (or rather a figure has not been published). It is likely to be none or very few barring special schools teaching secondary school pupils, where again foreign languages is likely to be the problem. It is not known whether the Ofsted grade limiting proposal will apply to special schools. There will also be a problem of finding teachers to teach foreign languages, one of the factors which led to the removal of the requirement a decade ago that all 14 to 16-year olds study the subject. The Government is committed to increase the number of teachers able to teach Mandarin.

This blog is for UNICEF

Thanks for reading. 

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