The Reception Baseline Assessment is a test that the government had planned to introduce this school year. It has now been delayed until September 2021.
However, schools can choose to sign up for the Early Adopter year. This is optional: even if your school is participating, you can withdraw your child from the test.
Here’s how it will work: Within the first six weeks of four-year-olds starting school, they will take a 20-minute test in maths and English. One by one, they will sit with a teacher and complete it using a computer tablet.
Parents won’t be told the results, and the results won’t tell the teacher anything new about pupils anyway. They will be stored in a national database until pupils have finished year 6, at which point they’ll be used to judge schools, not nurture children’s learning.
It is completely unacceptable to test four-year-olds (all of whom are at different levels of development, anyway) as soon as they start school. It’s also wrong to measure schools this way.
An open letter to the Department for Education signed by over 700 education experts and academics described the reception baseline assessment as “both pointless and damaging”.
The British Educational Research Association has called the government’s plans “flawed, unjustified and totally unfit for purpose”.
96% of headteachers and other primary school leaders believe that the first few weeks of school should not be spent preparing for tests.
More than four out of five heads believe the assessments will not be fair on children with a summer birthday, those with special educational needs and those without English as a first language.