Five Reasons Why You Should Take the Time to Respond to the Primary Assessment Consultations

You have until 5pm on Thursday 22 June to have Your Say!

By Alex Hurle, Head of Education, B Squared Ltd


The consultation on “primary school pupil assessment: Rochford Review recommendations” can be found here:

https://consult.education.gov.uk/assessment-policy-and-development/rochford-review

The consultation on “primary assessment in England” can be found here:

https://consult.education.gov.uk/assessment-policy-and-development/primary-assessment/

What a busy few years it has been for our education system and for all the overburdened teachers working within. New curriculums, the expansion of academies, changes to the EYFS, the reformation of qualifications, disapplication of NC levels, and new EoKS assessment framework for mainstream (which are definitely not levels!?!). It seems that no matter which section of education provision you work in, someone over the last seven years has made a decision to review, repeal or change specific aspects of your job. All of this has come on top of real-terms funding cuts, changes to teachers’ pay and conditions, and a national staffing crisis.

I do not feel that I made the wrong decision to leave the classroom when I did.

Even with the publication of the “Commission on Assessment without Levels: final report” and the “Ofsted inspections: myths” documents, many school staff were still left feeling confused and under pressure. Without appropriate advice, guidance, or training, the Government has expected educators to adapt to new systems, which were inaccessible for many pupils with SEND (UK Parliament, 2017).

Then came the announcement that experts in the field of assessment, SEND, and working with disadvantaged pupils had been selected “to advise the Minister of State for Schools on solutions for assessing the abilities of pupils who don’t meet the standards required to take the national curriculum tests” (Gov.uk, 2017). Initially, I was concerned that this might be another token gesture. I was worried that the experts would identify the things that the Government did not want without advising schools on how to approach the assessment challenges they faced.

But it wasn’t!

The “Rochford Review: final report” (Gov.uk, 2017) was published in October 2016. It was enlightened and well considered. It showed a real understanding of the needs of the children paired with a recognition of the hard work put in by the staff working with them every day.

 

It acknowledged that:

“age-related expectations are not appropriate for a significant proportion of pupils working below the standard of the national curriculum tests”.

 

It accepted that:

“There is a small number of pupils nationally whose learning difficulties mean that they will not be engaged in subject-based learning”.

 

It also stated that:

“Schools assess pupils’ development in all 4 areas of need outlined in the SEND Code of Practice”.

 

These concepts are not novel; many of the teachers whom I have worked with in my time as a teacher or met during my time with B Squared have been arguing these facts for years; sometimes decades. However, what the Rochford Review group managed to do was to give voice to these key messages in a forum to which the DfE will have to respond.

This being said, the DfE’s response WILL DEPEND ON YOU!

You have until 5pm on Thursday (22/06/2017) to respond to the DfE’s consultations. This is your chance to have your say. This is your chance to tell them what you think of the Rochford Review’s recommendations. This is your chance to speak on behalf of the children you work with and shape the future of assessment.

 

So, here are my five reasons:

  1. because it matters for pupils,
  2. because it matters for parents,
  3. because it matters for teachers,
  4. because it matters for schools, and
  5. because it matters!

 

The consultation on “primary school pupil assessment: Rochford Review recommendations” can be found here:

https://consult.education.gov.uk/assessment-policy-and-development/rochford-review

The consultation on “primary assessment in England” can be found here:

https://consult.education.gov.uk/assessment-policy-and-development/primary-assessment/

 

At B Squared, we are proud to be up-to-date on the issues surrounding the assessment of pupils with SEND. We have done this by:

  • analysing both the interim and the final report, and providing an immediate response to teachers;
  • surveying our customers’ opinion and planning two brand-new frameworks in response to the recommendations (Engagement Steps & Progressions Steps); and
  • responding to the consultations using the information gleaned from our loyal customers.

We shall continue to keep you informed as this process develops. For further information about B Squared’s response to the recommendations of the “Rochford Review: final report” visit:

 https://www.bsquared.co.uk/rochford-review

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