PACEY has joined with England’s other early years organisations to launch the campaign: Better without Baseline. The campaign is in response to the government’s announcement on approved independent Baseline Assessment providers, with the planned introduction of assessments from September this year.
Within the first few weeks of starting primary school, children will be tested on their mathematical and literacy abilities through a computer or tablet-based test, where they are asked a series of questions. The Department for Education requires that the assessments be carried out for all children within six weeks of starting in Reception, on a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ basis for each question, with the results then being condensed into a single ‘score’.
The current Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) which builds a rounded profile of each child’s abilities based on observation over time will become optional from September 2016.
Not only does the scheme face strong opposition from experts and early years organisations alike, it also goes against the recommendations of the Government’s own consultation process.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said:
“PACEY has firmly opposed baseline assessments for school starters since the scheme was first proposed, which is why we are putting our support behind the Better without Baseline campaign.
"We share in the disappointment felt by many working in the early years sector that the Government now plans to press on with introducing this scheme for those starting school this year. Testing children in this way at such a key stage in their school career does nothing to support their early development and is instead about monitoring school performance.
"We believe there should be equal consideration given for children’s physical, social and emotional development, fostered through a play-based approach to learning. That is why we are equally disappointed that the Government now plans to make the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile - which helped ensure holistic child development was considered up to and including reception year - optional from September 2016.”
You can sign the Change.org petition against these Baseline Assessments here.