Thank you for contacting me about statutory assessments in primary schools.
Primary education is fundamental to ensuring every child receives the best possible start in life. The primary assessment and accountability system play an important role in ensuring that every child, no matter what their background or where they go to school, benefits from a high-quality primary education. These assessments help ensure great schools are recognised and help to improve those that can learn from others.
The reception baseline assessment (RBA) will be used to inform the way the Department for Education measures the educational progress that primary schools help their pupils to make. The RBA is not a test. It is a short, teacher-led assessment of children’s communication, language, literacy and early mathematics skills. No preparation will be required, either at home or at school. It will enable the Department for Education to develop improved progress measures which will take into account the work that primary schools do with their pupils in the reception year and throughout the first two years of schooling. Data from the assessment will only be used once children reach the end of primary school, and will not be used to judge, track or label individual pupils.
It is important to note that this assessment will replace existing end-of-key stage 1 tests, which will be made non-mandatory once the new reception baseline has become established.
I know Ministers appreciate the challenging circumstances schools are facing during this current pandemic. The Department for Education is keeping progress towards the reception baseline assessment (RBA) under regular review and gathering feedback from stakeholders on a range of options. Further guidance on the RBA will be provided to schools in the summer term.