Ministers delay tests for pupils at nursery schools

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The Independent Online

The Government is to abandon the testing of pupils aged four and five during their first few weeks in primary school reception classes.

The Government is to abandon the testing of pupils aged four and five during their first few weeks in primary school reception classes. Legislation will be introduced so that teachers instead complete a profile of what every pupil can achieve by the end of their nursery school or reception year ­ by which time most pupils will be five.

Teachers will have to profile how well children can cope with activities such as tying their shoelaces and reciting nursery rhymes as well as their reading, writing and maths skills. A spokesman at the Department for Education and Skills said: "The profiles should not be seen as tests. They are based on teachers' observations during the year."

Schools at present can choose from 90 tests to do "baseline assessments". Most children in reception classes are tested during their first seven weeks in school. Ministers felt that the range of choice meant the tests were too haphazard and that a single national assessment would be preferable.

Margaret Morrissey, spokeswoman for the National Confederation of Parent-Teacher Associations, said: "I would prefer it to be done when the child first arrives at school so the teacher knows what he can do. Moving it to the end of the year makes it look more like another end-of-year test."

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the Government's exams watchdog, said the delay would give teachers more time to assess their pupils.

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