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Survey reveals baseline assessments are not working

A survey released today by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT), shows that baseline assessments are not an accurate reflection of child ability and actually disrupt a child’s start to school.

The research was carried out on behalf of the ATL and NUT by UCL Institute of Education and surveyed opinions of over 1,000 teachers, as well as parents from five primary schools across England. The results showed that the majority of teachers don’t feel baseline assessment scores reflect a child’s attainment.

Less than one in ten teachers felt the assessments were fair and accurate, while 59 percent said the assessment disrupted children’s start to school.

In addition, teachers reported that the tests were a barrier to getting to know children and also identifying the needs of Special Educational Need (SEN) pupils. Worryingly 31 percent actually felt it has damaged relationships between pupils and teachers, which is a real worry when children have only just started full-time education.  

Liz Bayram, PACEY’s Chief Executive said:

 “The research released today by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT), cements our concerns about baseline assessment that we have expressed since the scheme was first proposed.

 “PACEY strongly believes that testing children in this way does nothing to support them at this key stage in a child’s life and is instead about monitoring school performance. The transition from an early years settings to school can be an anxious time and teachers should be allowed to concentrate on settling children into full time education rather than having their attention diverted by these tests.

“The Government’s decision to make the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile optional, was a huge disappointment.  Rather than giving children a single numerical score – which the baseline assessment does – this builds a rounded profile of each child’s abilities based on observation over time. Alongside our colleagues and experts in the early years sector, we will continue to support the Better Without Baseline campaign and oppose these ill-advised assessments.”