Justine Greening’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but it will not substantially change the situation facing teachers and their pupils this year. There is more that needs to be done, and every reason for teachers to continue their campaign.
What the NUT working with other unions have achieved through building the pressure on the DfE:
- The DfE has admitted that there are flaws in the 2016 data. As a result it must not be used as the sole means to pass judgement on a school.
- The proposed KS2 resits for Year 7 pupils, a Conservative manifesto commitment, have been scrapped
- There will be no new tests until at least 2018-19, meaning new multiplication tests for KS2 children will not be brought in this year
- The KS1 SPaG test will remain non-statutory this year
- There will be new guidance for the moderation of teacher assessment of writing, with mandatory local authority training.
- There is an indication that floor and coasting standards will be used to identify the need to support ‘current leadership teams’, rather than to trigger intervention.
- The long-delayed Rochford Review for children working below the national curriculum has been published
- There will be consultation on the role of teacher assessment and accountability.
However, the unions must continue to build pressure and negotiate with the DfE to secure real change for children and schools. The reforms that have been secured do not go far enough to improve the experience of children and teachers.
- Judgements about pupils’ writing will still be made on the basis of a secure fit, rather than a best fit model, and the tick-box, ‘prove it’ approach to assessment has not gone away.
- The inappropriate KS1 and KS2 reading tests will be largely unchanged
- The much-criticised KS2 SPaG test remains statutory
- Data from the discredited 2016 assessment round will still be used to influence judgments of schools. Because coasting schools judgements are based on three years of data, schools may be impacted by the problems of 2015-16 until the end of 2017-18
- There is no real improvement to the situation for children with SEND
- The consultation offered must address teachers and parents’ fundamental concerns about the current system- the narrowing of the curriculum, impact on inclusion, and pressure on children and teachers.