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Better Without Baseline coalition responds to primary assessment inquiry

The Better Without Baseline coalition, a group of early years organisations and teaching unions which formed to express their concerns about the government’s proposals for baseline assessment in the reception year, has submitted evidence to the House of Commons Education Committee’s inquiry on primary assessment.

PACEY is a member of the coalition, and has strongly welcomed the government’s recent decision not to proceed with the planned baseline assessment system for school accountability purposes in 2016-17 and to retain the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Profile until at least 2017-18. Following this success, the coalition is continuing to work together to offer its collective expertise on ensuring any future proposals for accountability in primary schools are compatible with the assessment principles of the EYFS. 

In its written evidence, the coalition outlines the key problems with the proposed baseline assessments, namely that they were:

  • Unreliable
  • Disruptive
  • Statistically invalid
  • Harmful to child wellbeing
  • Harmful to effective practice
  • Harmful to the home-learning environment, parent partnerships and relationships with nurseries

The coalition stresses the importance of ensuring any future assessments in primary schools ‘do not have a negative and distorting effect on the Early Years Foundation Stage’, and also how crucial it is to retain the EYFS Profile, which is a key component in accountability for the early years system. Data from the EYFS Profile is used to evaluate effectiveness of children’s services, early years settings and the reception year in schools, and to target investment and improvement initiatives.

In addition, the coalition has recommended that government establish an early years advisory group to ensure its decisions are informed by advice and guidance from the sector.