NASUWT comments on primary assessment proposals

Commenting on the statement by the Secretary of State for Education setting out proposals to reform the system of primary assessment, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“It is important to recognise, and as the NASUWT has stated consistently, that many of the concerns expressed about statutory primary assessment are the direct result of their use in the current high stakes school accountability regime. 

“The NASUWT therefore continues to call on the DfE to work with teachers to reform the primary school accountability framework to tackle its adverse implications for pupils and staff in schools.

“The Union is clear that the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile in its current form is not fit for purpose and creates significant and unnecessary assessment and record-keeping burdens for teachers. The NASUWT therefore welcomes proposals to review the Profile and looks forward to engaging with the DfE on the details of its plans.

“The NASUWT has always stressed that progress measures are, in general, a more effective and equitable indicator of the contribution schools make to the achievement of pupils than those focused on assessment. The Union therefore accepts that there is a need for an on-entry assessment to establish a benchmark for evaluating future pupil progress, but these assessments must be administered in ways that are manageable for schools and do not create additional workload burdens for teachers and school leaders.

“While in principle the abolition of statutory KS1 assessments is welcome, this will be largely meaningless if these tests are still available to schools on a non-statutory basis. Continuing to make these tests available would represent a poor use of public money. If these tests are no longer to be compulsory, then they must be scrapped altogether.

“While the removal of some statutory teacher assessment at KS2 is welcome, the NASUWT remains disappointed that the DfE intends to persist with externally moderated teacher assessment of writing at Key Stage 2. Although the DfE plans to introduce amendments, the Union is concerned that many of the problems that have beset this assessment since its introduction in 2012 will continue in future.

“The plan to pilot reforms to the assessment of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities must be undertaken carefully. As the NASUWT warned at the time, Government reforms to the National Curriculum were driven through without effective consideration being given to how this curriculum would be assessed. A stark consequence of this recklessness is that arrangements for assessing pupils with SEND have still not been finalised. For too long the needs of pupils with SEN have been an afterthought, rather than part of a unified approach to the curriculum and assessment which strives to meet the needs of all pupils.”


Lena Davies
Press & Media Officer
0121 457 6250/07867 392746