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Education in the media: 20 June 2016

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Curriculum, Equalities, Exams and qualifications, Literacy

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Today’s education news review looks at an NUT survey about primary assessment and Ministerial commentary about Portsmouth Pride over the weekend.

Primary assessment

We are disappointed by coverage in the TES and by Sky News of a survey published by the NUT that claims union members believe primary assessment has a negative effect on pupils.

We want to ensure all primary schools are providing pupils with a good standard of maths and literacy. Primary assessment – the tests pupils take at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2 – are used to measure pupils’ progress in order to judge the effectiveness of schools and teachers. The tests themselves reflect the work that children will have been doing in class up to that point and we know that many children can do them successfully without realising they’ve taken a test.

Despite this, the survey found that nine in 10 union members believe the tests affected pupils adversely.

As part of our drive to ensure children leave primary school equipped with the skills they will need in life, we reformed assessments to reflect the more challenging new curriculum. These changes were announced in March 2014. All of the documents necessary for the tests and teacher assessments at Key Stage 2 have been available since September 2015 – the beginning of the academic year in which these assessments are due to be made.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

 We make no apology for our reforms to the primary curriculum so that all children leave primary school having mastered the basics. Assessment has always been an important part of education and remains crucial to ensuring every child fulfils their potential. If they don't master literacy and numeracy early on, then pupils risk being held behind and struggling for the rest of their lives.


We are absolutely clear that testing should not be a cause of stress for pupils ‎- they are there to help teachers make sure children are learning to read, write and add up well and also help them to identify were additional support is needed. In fact, a recent poll by ComRes for the BBC of 10 and 11-year-old pupils showed that 62% said they either ‘don’t mind’ or ‘enjoy’ taking the tests. Far more than those who said they ‘don’t like’ or ‘hate’ taking the tests.


We are determined to get this process right and remain committed to working with teachers and headteachers as we continue with our primary assessment reform. This includes working constructively with teaching unions, and engaging with the NAHT Assessment Review Group at an official level.

For more information on primary assessment, have a look this information for parents published by the Standards and Testing Agency earlier this month and our article on five things you need to know about primary assessment.

Portsmouth Pride

In celebration of Portsmouth Pride this weekend Minister for Women and Equalities Caroline Dinenage wrote a piece for the Portsmouth News which ran on Saturday, 18 June, to mark the local Pride celebrations which took place.

The article looks at the importance of the Pride movement on a local level and highlights recent successes we have had in the LGBT arena from a Government perspective before Pride arrives in London this weekend.

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