Primary assessments

Thank you for contacting me about assessments for primary school children.

I firmly believe that children should receive the best possible primary education to prepare them for later life. I am also very aware of the impact that Covid-19 has had on children including on their learning, development, and mental health. The Department for Education is committed to ensuring that no child is left behind and all pupils receive the necessary support they need.

Primary assessments play a crucial role in supporting pupils to grasp the basics of reading, writing and mathematics and to prepare them for secondary school. They allow parents and schools to understand pupils’ achievements in relation to the age-related attainment expectations outlined in the National Curriculum.

I understand your concerns regarding the assessments that primary school children must take including the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) and SATs. However, I believe that these assessments are crucial to ensuring that great schools are recognised and help to improve those that can learn from others.

As I understand it, assessments such as the RBA are used to inform the way that the Department for Education measures progress that primary school pupils make. I have been assured that no preparation is required from pupils, and data from the assessment will only be used once children reach the end of primary school. The information will not be used to judge, track or label individual pupils.

SATs taken by Year Six pupils are important for accountability and help the Department for Education understand which schools are falling below expected levels of progress. Furthermore, it enables teachers to see how their pupils are performing in relation to national expectations and allows them to provide extra support for individuals where required.

I will continue to monitor this issue closely, ensuring that all primary school assessments are carried out fairly and with the utmost consideration for the pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.